As our population continues to grow here in Britain, there’s a demand for a greater infrastructure.

From commercial builds to support our booming business scene to the development of new homes to tackle the housing crisis nationwide, we need to prepare the future generation of construction workers to keep up demand while ensuring that skill shortages within the sector remains low.

There are multiple ways that someone could enter the construction industry, but this has undergone a noticeable change over the years. Traditionally, someone who had aims to work in this sector became employed as soon as they left school and learned on the job.

Research has discovered that around 30% of British-born construction workers are now over the age of 50. Although the industry is currently thriving in terms of workload, 87% of employers in 2017 found it difficult to recruit the skilled workers that they needed — but could you be the next success story?

In this article, we take a look at the different routes a person can go down to secure a job in construction and what opportunities are available to them. From apprenticeships to graduate positions, here’s our run down:

Apprenticeships in Construction

With skill shortage becoming a problem for the sector, many people believe that apprenticeships could be key to survival for the industry. So much so that Engineering and Manufacturing, Construction, and Planning and Built Environment are thought to be among the top five sectors for apprenticeship starts.

The number of apprenticeships that fall under the Construction bracket and the Planning and the Built Environment bracket in England have shown a positive increase over the last five years:

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Year

Apprenticeships

13/14

16,000

14/15

18,000

15/16

21,000

16/17

21,000

17/18

23,000

However, it’s important to understand that this career route wasn’t always as popular and didn’t offer the same benefits as they do currently.

Today, more businesses are offering further advanced apprenticeships that range from a Level 3 qualification to even a degree.

Speaking on the matter, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said:

“Apprenticeships are longer in duration and cover a broader range of knowledge and hand-skills. This not only benefits the employers but also the apprentices who will be arming themselves with a wider range of skills for their future careers.”

Apprenticeships in construction are just like any other job but includes at least a years’ worth of training that earns a learner a qualification that is recognised by industry leaders. However, for those seeking an apprenticeship in this industry, it’s important that you find the area that you’re most interested in as there are over 100 apprenticeships offered in this field.

Don’t think that you’re too old for an apprenticeship either. This form of learning is not just for school leavers and only requires you to be over the age of 16 — there is no upper-age limit.

However, if you’re aged 24 or above, you could be eligible for adult skills funding if you carry out an advanced-level apprenticeship of Higher Apprenticeship. Undeniably, apprenticeships are a great choice for those looking for their first job after school or university, or those in later life who are looking to change careers.

Whether you’re looking to work onsite or in the office’s planning department, Go Construct offer a great tool that can give you an idea of what jobs are available. This considers your preferred place of work, interests, qualifications, and skills.

In terms of apprenticeships, you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘earn as you learn’, and it’s completely true. You’ll be entitled to the National Minimum Wage while you’re working, but the minimum wage rate for an apprentice is currently £3.70 per hour.

This rate applies to apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 but are in their first year. If you have completed your first year and are over 19, you’re required to be paid what the minimum wage rate is for your age.

Graduate Programmes In Construction

Interestingly, a lot of people do go to university with hopes to have a career in construction. When looking at WhatUni’s database, we found that there were 76 universities offering 231 different degrees in relation to Architecture, Building and Planning.

However, one study found that 44% of university students didn’t know what they want to do once they left. A graduate programme could be the answer. Many construction firms are beginning to understand the advantages of hiring someone straight out of university, as this can be a quick solution to the employment and skills crisis the sector is facing.

Essentially, a graduate scheme in construction is a structured training programme run by an employer to develop the next generation of workers. In terms of length, these usually last between one and two years, although they can be longer depending on the area of learning. Within most programmes, graduates will take on immense responsibility within a business and develop their understanding of the task requirements at hand.

A lot of businesses require accreditation from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to run an ICE Training Scheme for graduates.

Geoenvironmental consultants, Patrick Parsons, is just one company that provides a graduate scheme that has become the starting point for many people’s careers: “We actively develop pioneering, passionate, creative and motivated engineers to become integral members of our high-performing team. Our graduate scheme has proven to be successful for both our business and anyone who is coming out of university looking for the right experience in the field. More businesses should definitely be looking to offer these type of initiatives as it is one way to proactively solve the skill shortage problem the industry is facing.”

Evidently, apprenticeships and graduate schemes are both the way forward for both businesses and those looking to start their careers in construction.

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