Major housebuilder Redrow has published its second annual research report, ‘Building better apprenticeships: Delivering skills to drive UK productivity’, which has revealed what teenagers and their parents think about young people choosing construction as an apprenticeship pathway.
The new report, which is the result of speaking to 15- to 21-year-olds, sees 14% more young people (62%) considering a job in the sector this year. In addition, it finds 24% of young women considering this career path, up from 16% in 2017, with a far more positive overview of the industry than a year ago, with 19% fewer young people believing male domination of the industry.
The promotion of apprenticeships is wide, with 63% of respondees saying someone at school had outlined how they work and their associated benefits. The number of youngsters believing they had received high-quality careers advice, information and guidance across the range of careers open to them was also up significantly from last year.
Karen Jones , the group HR director for Redrow who spoke to us earlier this year with her thoughts on women’s opportunities in the industry, says: “This year’s results illustrate that apprenticeships and careers in construction are being viewed in a more positive light. Efforts by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprentices and initiatives such as Go Construct from the CITB can be credited with helping to make these encouraging strides. Apprenticeships are a way of futureproofing the UK workforce, particularly in sectors where there is a skills shortage such as construction so it is pleasing to see that progress is being made.”
This year’s research also revealed that the current tuition of maths and English skills as part of an apprenticeship programme remain al hurdle for some young people to overcome. Low wages are perhaps the big barrier for many, with 42% of young people surveyed saying that an increase in wages in the first year of apprenticeship would encourage them to consider that path more seriously. The financial implications of their child starting apprenticeship, with cuts to child benefit and tax credits, see 12% of parents saying this is a problem.
Jones adds: “Theory-based classroom learning isn’t the right teaching method for every apprentice and with a third of people failing to complete their apprenticeships, it is more important than ever that we identify why this might be the case. Ensuring that maths and English subjects are taught in a way that is as relevant to an apprentice’s role as possible would be a good place to start.
“As well as this, money is a barrier for apprenticeship take up. At Redrow, we pay a first year starting wage of £4.75 per hour, 35% more than the standard rate and therefore recommend that first year wages are raised closer to the National Minimum Wage. We also recommend that families keep access to benefits when their child starts their apprenticeship. If the government wants to increase apprenticeship uptake and wants to advance social mobility, reducing the financial burden for young people and families is vitally important.”
Come to listen and talk about housebuilding careers – apprenticeship, diversity, training and leadership – at our New Homes Debate in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.