I’m not talking about the hit show on BBC2 fronted by business entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar. I’m talking about our apprentice. He may not have been scrutinised in the boardroom by the business guru himself, his accomplishments were not watched by over six million people for over twelve weeks, but he shone as the right candidate for us from the start.
Britain’s construction industry is facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation with companies blaming the recent prolonged recession for a lack of apprentices.
With currently over 2.1 million jobs, the industry is finally getting back on its feet, however recovery is being slowed down by companies struggling to recruit skilled bricklayers, carpenters/joiners and site managers to deliver their projects. One in three of the largest construction companies in London are turning down bidding opportunities due to this shortage of skilled labour.
In 2013 just 7,280 apprentices completed their training across all the trades, however in reality the sector needed 35,000 new entrants just to stand still.
The Government’s National Infrastructure Plan for Skills reveals demand for over 250,000 construction workers and over 150,000 engineering construction workers by 2020. This is alongside the need to retrain and up skill the existing workforce over the next decade too.
As a result, the Government are committed to increasing the number of apprenticeships in England with plans to introduce a new apprenticeship levy in April 2017. This levy aims to encourage larger companies to significantly investment in training for their workforce. At the moment two-thirds of all construction apprentices are trained by micro companies similar to NBH.
We chose to take Jack on as our apprentice because as we grow, we are feeling the skills shortage too and good bricklayers are hard to find. We have a great team working for us at the moment and we want to build on this (no pun intended). When recruiting skilled workers is a challenge, another option is to ‘grow your own’. We hope Jack is the first of many more to follow.
From Jack’s perspective, he chose a bricklaying apprenticeship because he wanted to develop a trade. I hope he chose to do this with NBH because he saw our commitment to training.
And whilst Jack is working towards his City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying, I’m also busy studying for my HNC in Construction and the Build Environment, after all, I don’t want to be fired by Sir Alan either!
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.’ Henry Ford