The year-on-year decline in construction apprenticeships threatens the Prime Minister’s levelling-up agenda and the UK’s ability to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the Department for Education’s apprenticeship and traineeship data released today.
Apprenticeship starts in construction, planning and the built environment saw a decline from 16,100 in the 2019/20 academic year, to 13,100 in 2020/21, according to the Department of Education.
Apprenticeship starts as a whole saw an 18.5% decline to 161,900 in 2020/21, compared to 198,600 reported for the same period in 2019/20.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “2,000 fewer new apprenticeships is the opposite of what is needed to tackle the critical skills shortage in the construction industry. In particular, it won’t help small building companies. Currently 38% of Master Builder companies are already struggling to hire bricklayers and 34% are unable to recruit carpenters.”
Berry concluded: “The Government’s levelling-up agenda is at risk if support to encourage and incentivise careers in construction isn’t turbo-charged. Small builders would particularly welcome an extension to the heightened incentive payments for those businesses training apprentices beyond September of this year.”