We ask readers to share their visions of the construction industry in 25 years’ time. Here, Karen Jones of Redrow imagines a less restrictive gateway into the construction industry
It is more important than ever that the construction sector has a skilled workforce in place to build much needed new homes across the country. Boosting the uptake of apprenticeships would help to ensure this is achieved.
The good news is that our latest research found that the perception of construction as an apprenticeship pathway has improved, with 62% of the young people we surveyed stating that they are considering a career in the sector – a 14% increase year-on-year. Despite this improvement, there are still a number of hurdles that are restricting young people from embarking on a career in the sector. The current tuition of maths and English skills as part of an apprenticeship programme is one example. Young people must obtain at least an equivalent C grade at GCSE level in both subjects but many struggle to accomplish this. Further barriers arise in the form of starting wages, with apprentices in their first year receiving just £3.70 per hour if employers pay the minimum rate.
We would like to see maths and English subjects taught in a way that is as relevant to the apprentice’s role as possible to ensure that they develop an applied skillset rather than a theoretical one. This would not only attract more young people to apprenticeships, but help to drive much better retention and completion rates – a crucial metric which is often lost amongst other statistics.
First year starting wages should also be raised closer to the National Minimum Wage of £5.90 per hour to ensure that apprentices are compensated fairly for the work they do and to incentivise more talent into the sector.
Do you have a Thought for Tomorrow? Just send your name, job title and company, and 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the heading “Building Your Future”, answering these questions:
- What would you like the construction industry to look like in 25 years’ time?
- And what needs to change to make that happen?
Karen Jones, HR director, Redrow