Everyone knows that with a greater population, we need more support in our society. 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.

Unlike ever before, new routes have become available for stepping into the sector. 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?

From apprenticeships to graduate positions, here’s our run down of entering the industry:


Taking an apprenticeship

For other industry’s across the country, apprenticeships have been very beneficial — so could the same be said for construction? 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.

While looking at both Construction and Planning and the Built Environment workforce across England, there was a notable increase in apprenticeships.

Year Apprenticeships
13/14 16,000
14/15 18,000
15/16 21,000
16/17 21,000
17/18 23,000

Remember, this route wasn’t always as sought-after. 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): “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.”

Typically, apprentices will one year of training in which they receive an industry recognised qualification. 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.

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.

The Go Construct platform offers a great tool to see which kind of positions are available in the industry. This considers your preferred place of work, interests, qualifications, and skills.

Although gaining a qualification is extremely beneficial, young people like the idea of earning while they’re learning. 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 routes

Believe it or not, not all those wanting a career in this industry will leave school at 16 with a full-time job. When looking at WhatUni’s database, we found that there were 76 universities offering 231 different degrees in relation to Architecture, Building and Planning.

But, 44% of students don’t know what they want to do after their studies. 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. Geoenvironmental consultants, Patrick Parsons, is just one company that provides a graduate scheme that has become the starting point for many people’s careers.

Graduates can enrol in these schemes and become the future workers of the sector. 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.