Increase is also first since introduction of Apprenticeship Levy

Uptake of construction and engineering apprenticeships has risen for the first time in six years. 

There were approximately 26,100 new apprenticeships started in the sector between August 2021 and July 2022, the first annual increase since 2016/17. 


HS2 has been a major part of apprenticeship uptake in the construction industry, recently taking on its 1,000th apprentice – halfway to its goal

The research, carried out by power tool firm Protrade based on government data, covers apprenticeships in the ‘construction, planning and the built environment’ category. 

Ethnic minority representation in these areas grew to its highest point ever (6.47%), while the proportion of women starting apprenticeships declined slightly to 7.35%. 

It is the second year of decline in female representation among new apprentices, after it hit an all-time high at 7.88% in 2019/20. 

The figures for ethnic minorities represent a bounce-back from the decline seen during covid-19, which saw numbers drop to 5.98% in 2020/21. 

The overall rise in uptake of construction apprenticeships – 31% up from 19,960 the year prior – is the first time the number has increased since the government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy. 

Many employers claim the levy, introduced in 2017, is too inflexible and has made it more difficult to take on apprentices. 

Market research by the Open University in 2019 found that, across the economy, £3bn in levy funding went unused. 

A recent report by the Construction Industry Training Board claimed the industry would need an extra 225,000 workers by 2027 to keep up with demand.