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Construction employers receive suite of apprenticeship support resources as industry is urged to rethink recruitment methods

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, a series of apprenticeship toolkits have launched to support construction employers with hiring an apprentice.

Acting as a one-stop shop for support and guidance, the website toolkits simplify access to information and reduce the obstacles that often deter employers from looking into the process. Starting at the beginning of the journey, they will detail the various routes to hiring an apprentice across England, Scotland, and Wales. From there, there’s a choice of four other sections to explore, including support available from CITB. This could be practical support, assisting employers with completing paperwork, or financial support, with a breakdown on how to claim funding for an apprentice.

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and Wales. Now in its fifteenth year, the event brings businesses and apprentices together and highlights the positive impact apprenticeships can have on individuals, businesses, and the economy.

This year’s theme, ‘Build the Future,’ is particularly relevant to the construction sector, with the industry facing some major challenges, including the need to recruit an additional 217,000 workers by 2025. This places greater emphasis on apprenticeships as one way the construction industry can secure a pipeline of future talent, but also highlights the need to tackle the many challenges faced when considering recruiting an apprentice.

Additionally, the challenges extend to recruiting new entrants in general, as CITB’s recent report, Rethinking Recruitment, encourages employers to consider alternative methods. A key part of this will be ensuring a fair recruitment process to widen the talent pool and bring in the new perspectives required to fill the skills gap. With much of the industry relying on word-of-mouth methods to recruit, the toolkits include advice on writing apprenticeship adverts, interview guidance and links to additional resources on integrating Fairness, Inclusion and Respect principles, to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

With 70% of SMEs in construction being micro businesses with less than 10 employees, time was identified as a key factor in the design stages of the toolkits. Each section has clear, easy to follow headings meaning employers can scan and skip sections to find the information they want quickly.

Alan Wilson, Head of Apprenticeships & Careers Products at CITB, said: “Apprenticeships are vital to the construction industry, but it’s important to remember they can also be a fantastic addition to any business, in general. Hiring an apprentice can be a great way to pass on an important trade to the next generation, help your business grow, and even increase productivity.

“For these reasons, it’s extremely important that all employers understand what an apprenticeship is and the different types available. The new toolkits are a brilliant support system, covering a huge amount of advice and tips that can often be a daunting and time-consuming task to figure out on your own.”