Research and reports
Construction apprenticeships can help businesses find and train people passionate about exploring a career in the industry. From on the job training to government grants, here’s everything you need to know about taking on an apprentice.
The shortage of skilled labour in the construction workforce has been an ongoing challenge for small businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. Early retirement, the cost of living crisis, and supply shortages have pushed experienced workers out of the industry.
That said, changes to the UK skills shortage occupation list mean it may now be easier for trades businesses to hire overseas workers.
The government has approved five additional trades on the list to help businesses recruit for roles they’re struggling to fill:
This means people may be able to apply for a UK working visa more easily in these areas as they can apply for a skilled worker visa, as revealed in the Budget announcement.
Research from Vodafone suggests small businesses are scrapping plans to hire an apprentice due to the soaring cost of living.
But with government funding, hiring an apprentice for your construction or trades business could be another way to develop your workforce and address the talent shortage.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) improves skills development in the industry and links businesses with apprentices.
The CITB has also recently launched a New Entrant Employer Support Team to help small businesses understand the complex process of hiring an apprentice. They’ll help construction businesses in England to find talent, relevant training, and grants.
You can email the team for more information: [email protected].
Other resources and support for employers looking to hire apprentices include:
There are four types of construction apprenticeships, from intermediate and advanced to higher and degree level.
When it comes to roles available, apprenticeships can include:
You may be able to apply for a grant for hiring an apprentice if you’re registered with the CITB.
Grants available include:
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced to help fund new apprenticeship schemes and grow the workforce.
However, industry groups, training providers, and organisations have been calling for a reform of the apprenticeship levy and that it’s not as effective as it should be. This comes as research from City & Guilds finds that employers have spent only 55.5 per cent of their levy funding in the last five years, on average.
Only businesses with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy – so it’s not likely to affect small businesses. You can use the government website to find out if you have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy and check the criteria.
If you don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy, you’ll instead pay five per cent towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. The government pays for the remaining 95 per cent, directly to the training provider.
You might be able to get an additional £1,000 to pay for other costs when your apprentice is in the workplace if they are:
Find out more about funding for apprenticeships.
Alongside the financial advantages, there are many reasons why hiring an apprentice could be a positive step for your small business.
For more information, read our general guide to hiring an apprentice.
Have you got a construction apprenticeship scheme for your business? Let us know your experience in the comments.
Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.
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