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Construction apprenticeship demand on the rise

A sharp increase in the number of people applying for apprenticeships within the construction industry has highlighted the appeal of on-the-job training in the sector as a path to a lifelong career.

Over the course of the last year, 60,410 applications were received for 5,285 apprenticeships, with the positions straddling the construction, planning and built environment sector, according to figures from the National Apprenticeship Service. This represents a total of 11 applicants vying for each construction apprenticeship that was advertised online in 2012/13.

The figures showed a sharp rise of more than 10,000 applications on last year's figures, and a rise of 21 per cent since 2011/12, when 49,990 applications were submitted for the apprenticeships.

While the number of applicants is on the rise, the number of opportunities in the sector increased by just 11 per cent, with a total of 5,285 vacancies advertised this year compared to the 4,751 that were advertised last year.

Matthew Hancock, Skills Minister, told Construction News: “We want to see it become the norm that young people either go to university or into an apprenticeship. To match the growing popularity of apprenticeships, I would urge more employers to consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”

Mr Hancock went on to say that recent research published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills showed that the vast majority – over 70 per cent – of employers reported that apprentices boosted their business.

The Government is due to publish a reform plan this autumn which aims to ensure that apprenticeships are improved across all industries, as a result of the Richard Review of apprenticeships.

The review – which was carried out by educator Doug Richard – urged the Government to improve the quality of the apprenticeship programme in this country, and to make them far more focused on the needs of both apprentices and employers.