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Sat June 19 2021

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Apprenticeships beat university as best route to top of construction

14 Mar 16 More construction bosses got to the top through an apprenticeship rather than a college degree, according to new research.

Apprentices at electrical contractor ClarksonEvans show support for National Apprenticeship Week 2016
Apprentices at electrical contractor ClarksonEvans show support for National Apprenticeship Week 2016

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) quizzed 188 of its members on how the boss started out and found that nearly 60% began their career as apprentices.

The research also found that more than half of those bosses were running their own company within just seven years of completing their apprenticeship training, and that 98% of construction SME owners value an apprenticeship over a degree when looking for new staff.

Speaking at the start of ‘National Apprentice Week’, FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “The construction industry is ideally suited to a young person with heaps of ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit. Our research demonstrates that a construction apprenticeship is the perfect springboard for a successful and rewarding career, with more than half of construction SMEs being run by people who started out as an apprentice. Of those who went on to start their own businesses, more than one in two reached that goal within a mere seven years of completing their apprenticeship training, showing that you can go from being a brickie to a business owner in no time at all.”

He said: “Even if running your own firm isn’t what you aspire to do, a construction apprenticeship can nevertheless provide the foundation for a highly rewarding career. Almost 80% of our SME construction bosses said that employment in the sector offers high levels of job satisfaction with tangible results and 87% believe an apprenticeship teaches useful and practical skills. What’s more, by the age of 23, a bricklayer with five years' experience can earn up to £31,000 and rising in some cases to £52,000 in London. Given the high levels of university tuition fees, young people have every reason to properly consider a more vocational education and pursuing a career in construction looks an increasingly shrewd move.”

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Tony Passmore, managing director of the Passmore Group said: “I’ve been working in the construction  industry for a long time now and I’ve lost count of the number of young people who I’ve seen start out at the bottom, put in the hard work during their apprenticeship, and then rise up through the ranks to set up their own firm. Many of them wouldn’t have guessed they’d soon be running their own business when they first entered the construction industry and started their apprenticeship. And for those who aren’t keen on running their own firm, most jobs in the construction industry give you the freedom to work anywhere in the country – or better still, anywhere in the world.”

National Apprenticeship Week is a government propaganda initiative co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, “to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy”.

See national-apprenticeship-week-2016 for details.

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