Last month’s Spring Statement predominantly pinpointed the struggles encountered by the UK’s SMEs; namely monetary provision for the employment of apprentices. Speaking on 13th March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced: “We’re committed...to delivering three million apprenticeship starts by 2020 with the support of business through the Apprenticeship Levy.” He went on to declare that the Government “recognises the challenges the new system presents to small businesses looking to employ an apprentice”, and “…the Education Secretary will release up to £80m of funding to support those small businesses in engaging an apprentice”.
There is a clear obligation for the UK to address the industry’s skills shortage post-haste if we are to carve a future-proof stockpile of surveyors, bricklayers and additional construction professionals – particularly bearing in mind our departure from the EU; which is formally set to take place in less than a year’s time. With Brexit in mind, as well as the little time we have to confront the crisis prior to our withdrawal from the EU, Mr Hammond’s apprenticeship declaration will unquestionably make an imprint on the scarcity of construction workers. That said, what is required, however, is an element of enticement from the construction industry that will appeal to the juvenility of today.
Apprenticeships offer individuals opportunities to master the construction skills necessary for the build in question; absorbing knowledge on site. Furthermore, an apprenticeship programme provides a candidate with a prospect to work their way up the career ladder through the personnel hierarchy. Industry encouragements are indispensable if we are to beat the skills shortage, and one company who has thought outside the box in an incentivising effort is major house-builder, Redrow. Working alongside Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Coleg Cambria, the house-building giant has established the UK’s very first house-building degree. The three-year degree will offer candidates an overview of house-building skills and will conclude with a final-year dissertation.
Efforts such as Redrow’s innovative academic offering and Mr Hammond’s apprenticeship contribution will indisputably encourage potential candidates to enter the construction realm; allowing new and old methods of construction to be imparted to all across the construction industry.
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