Poor careers advice and misperceptions are exacerbating the construction sector skills-gap and discouraging apprentices Redrow’s 2017 apprenticeship report has revealed.
Leading housebuilder Redrow’s latest research (Overcoming aversion to apprenticeships) surveys 2,000 parents and school age children and 147 of their own apprentices, throwing into sharp relief a lack of adequate advice on construction careers and apprenticeships in schools. Misperceptions of the range of careers available and what these entail is also rife.
This lack of knowledge and poor communication is a key contributor to the skills crisis which threatens to throw the housebuilding and construction industry into decline, particularly with Brexit potentially preventing or deterring workers from the EU.
Redrow’s recommendations call for industry collaboration to better communicate a number of aspects of construction careers including the range of careers available and the extent of the benefits on offer. Industry role models ought to be made more visible and the comparative, significant costs of university attendance should be better publicised. Parents provide crucial guidance to children and housebuilders should be reaching out to them more effectively, to convey the benefits of apprenticeships and the many doors these can open.
Karen Jones, HR Director at Redrow, said: “The skills gap is not something construction companies and housebuilders can solve independently. Collaboration and a fresh mentality of ‘sharing what works’ is key to overcoming the skills barrier.
“As an industry we must get better at shouting about the benefits of both the apprenticeship route and careers in construction. We must also think outside the box: parents are so crucial to shaping their child’s future and we should be reaching out to them and encouraging them to see the range of fulfilling careers available.”
Poor careers provision in schools
Half (50%) of young people questioned answered “no” when asked if information on careers in construction had ever been discussed with them verbally by a teacher or had been made readily available in careers literature. Young men were more likely to have been given advice on a career in construction, with 40% having received this. Just 29% of young women had received this advice in comparison. The result is that just 30% of young men questioned said a career in construction was a possibility for them and just 16% of young women. More than half (52%) of young people had never given a career in construction any consideration.
Nearly a third (32%) of the young people stated that they hadn’t received information at school on apprenticeships. Again, more men (64%) than women (55%) had received advice on apprenticeships.
More than half (55%) of young people believe that “a career in construction mostly involves manual labour” – a view that fails to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the careers available. Nearly one in five (19%) of young people believe a career in construction does not require any qualifications beyond GCSEs.
Karen Jones continued: “Our research highlights the inadequacy of the careers provision in schools in relation to construction and apprenticeships. It is not right that most young people are not even considering a career in housebuilding or construction or that advice on apprenticeships is not dished out evenly to our girls and boys. We therefore welcome the commitment made by Robert Halfon, Minister for Skills, earlier this year to publish a comprehensive careers strategy – careers education and the quality of provision available at schools must be enhanced and widened. We hope the findings in this report act as real food for thought.”
Redrow’s full report and recommendations can be found here.