As CITB-ConstructionSkills continues its review of construction education, skills and training, the FMB has taken the opportunity to call on all industry bodies to work together to improve the image of the industry as a rewarding career choice and increase the number of high-achieving construction apprentices.
The significant growth in apprenticeship numbers announced last week by the Government is good publicity for the apprenticeship brand. However, the total number of construction apprenticeships in 2010/11 was still lower than the total number training prior to the recession.
Output in the construction sector is expected to decline this year and next. It is unsurprising therefore that many employers lack the confidence to commit to training a new recruit even if they have taken on apprentices in the past. Even so, the industry does need to continue recruiting new talent to ensure it is able to meet the future demand.
Brian Berry, FMB Director of External Affairs said:
“Whilst it is good news that the construction industry took on over 26,500 new apprentices in 2010/11, a lot of smaller employers remain extremely concerned about the future and any further increase will undoubtedly be a major challenge. Nevertheless, there are exciting times ahead for the industry as the country embraces the transition to a low carbon built environment. Therefore, it is essential we continue to attract enough high quality candidates.”
“Despite the common characterisation that the construction trades are low-skilled jobs, the reality is very different. The construction workforce is full of people who are highly skilled in their craft or crafts, and in order to keep pace with changes in the industry many more people need to develop these skills. This is why it is important for industry bodies to continue to work hard to counter negative portrayals of construction in the media, and educate schools and colleges about the variety of rewarding career options in the industry.”