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Need For Apprentices Underlined By Statistics

Carol Kavanagh, group human resources director, Travis Perkins Group, explains why there is a serious need for more apprentices in the UK construction sector, particularly in housing:
CHANGE is afoot in the UK housing market. House prices are seeing their highest rises since before the recession. As a result an increasing number of homeowners are looking to sell or renovate properties.
Developers face a growing demand both for new housing stock, and the refurbishment of old, while the government is also under pressure to provide more housing.
This can only be good news for the building trade, but there is a problem: that of a growing skills shortage. Government figures reveal that just 14,000 apprenticeships started in the construction, housing and environmental build sector in 2012-13, and this was 8,000 less than in the previous year. Yet to meet this demand, some 182,000 new jobs will need to be filled in the next four years says the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
n Skills shortage solution: Going on these current figures, it is clear that this skills shortage will only escalate unless affirmative action is taken.
One solution could lie in creating more apprenticeships. Recent research by Travis Perkins Group shows that there is widespread support for an increase in building apprenticeship numbers among today’s homeowners.
Recent government figures reveal that 19% of 16-24 year olds were unemployed in December 2013 to February 2014 (See the link: (www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05871/youth-unemployment-statistics). This means more apprentices could help address this issue.
According to the Travis Perkins Group research, 70% of UK homeowners believe it should be a requirement for any building firm turning over more than £500,000 a year to take on a new apprentice every year.
In addition, 55% say the government should support this by paying for a year’s apprenticeship for new entrants to the building trade aged 19-24.
n Value of apprenticeships: Apprenticeships need not stop at helping young people either.

Some 48% of those questioned also wanted to see a government scheme to help people re-train later in life, with 64% believing there should be a special government programme to train the long-term unemployed in building skills and to find them apprenticeships.
At Travis Perkins Group, we take apprenticeships very seriously, with recruitment schemes aimed at attracting new starters from a range of age groups, backgrounds and experience levels. These have given us not only generations of talented managers. but also with our chief executive John Carter himself.
This year we are taking on more apprentices than ever , a total of 138, many of those in the general merchanting division.
The value of apprenticeships is immeasurable. As well as providing much needed jobs, the nurturing of new talent is essential to pass on skills and boost the long-term prospects of businesses.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.