On the day that school pupils across the country will receive their GCSE results, the Federation of Master Builders is urging young people to consider a construction apprenticeship as a real and viable alternative to doing A-Levels, as the industry looks to fill 182,000 jobs in the next five years.
The building industry is experiencing a serious skills shortage which could hamper the economic recovery as the sector looks to replace the 390,000 workers that left the sector during the recession and the 410,000 workers that are due to reach retirement age in the next five years.
Provisional statistics show that there were 314,600 apprenticeship starts in the first three quarters of the 2013/2014 academic year but only 13,320 of these are in the construction, planning and built environment sector. Year on year the number of apprenticeship starts in this vitally important sector are decreasing (13,730 in academic year 2012/2013 and 13,920 in 2011/2012).
Sarah McMonagle, Head of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “Now is the perfect time for young people to enter the construction sector. Research indicates that there will be 182,000 new jobs created in the building industry in the next five years and that 120,000 will need to be apprentices. To top that off 43% of employers nationally agree that they would be more likely to offer an apprenticeship than they were two years ago.
“There has never been a more exciting time to begin a career in construction and we’re keen to demonstrate that A-Levels are not the only way forward for young people on GCSE results day.”
Former FMB Apprentice of the Year and now managing director of Ware Construction, Chris Ware, said: “From personal experience I can say that apprenticeships are an excellent route for school leavers. I finished my apprenticeship in carpentry in 2007 after leaving school at 16 when I finished my GCSEs. I started my own company in 2010 in the midst of the recession and I now employ seven full-time members of staff along with seven sub-contractors and I own four vans and a variety of machinery.”
The FMB is currently considering 14 young apprentices to win this year’s apprentice of the year award as part of its Master Builder of the Year awards programme.