Building Industry faces skills shortage!
The total number of UK apprentices has risen by 57% in the past five years but the number opting for construction has fallen to 15,510 from 20,000 in 2006
GettyConstruction worker using sledgehammerWeak foundations: Britain doesn’t have enough construction apprentices, experts warn Britain is on the brink of a skills crisis because of a slump in the number of people taking apprenticeships in construction, a study reveals.
In the last eight years construction and related trades’ apprenticeships have dropped from the most popular to the lowest two in the top ten.
Research by insurer Direct Line for Business found the total number of apprenticeships has risen by 57% in the last five years to 434,630 in 2014.
But construction skills, which topped the apprenticeship table in 2006 with 20,000 in training is now ninth with 15,510 apprentices.
Apprenticeships in ‘industrial applications’ which includes technical operators and metal workers, are ranked tenth.
Research suggests young people are failing to apply for apprenticeships because they feel there is more focus on securing academic qualifications to get jobs.
Others are deterred by low starting pay rates and a reluctance to work evenings and weekends.
Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business said: “Construction and trade based skills are vital to the UK economy.
“It’s tradespeople who come to the rescue when our boiler fails, and are the ones who are working every day to build homes, offices and help improve our roads.
“Apprenticeships are important for budding builders, plumbers and electricians to get into the workplace.
“With fewer people in apprenticeships there is a risk of creating a skills gap that will affect businesses and consumers alike.”
The government introduced a £3 billion apprenticeship levy in the Autumn Statement to fund three million new apprenticeships by 2020, but business leaders dubbed it a new “payroll tax.”
Meanwhile, another report warns that women leaving university will earn less than men even if they have studied the same subject as Britain’s gender pay gap remains “stubborn.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says female graduates take home between £15,000 and nearly £24,000, while their male counterparts are more likely to be on starting salaries of more than £24,000.
The pay gap is biggest in the legal profession, with women starting on an annual salary of £20,000, around £8,000 less than men.
Women are also under-represented in good-quality apprenticeships, but make up most of the workforce in low-pay sectors.
The commission’s research also found that women were over-represented in part-time work or on zero-hours contracts and under-represented in senior company posts.
Women also continued to face pregnancy discrimination, including unfair dismissal, negative comments and verbal harassment.
Laura Carstensen, an EHRC commissioner, said: “In today’s world women should not face these kinds of injustices, especially when data shows time after time girls and women are outperforming males at every stage in education.