Apprentices are core to supporting the housebuilding talent pipeline
The number of apprentices employed by SME’s in the housebuilding sector has surged, with 60% recognising the value apprentices add and hiring them in 2021.
This is particularly prevalent in the North of the UK, where 88% of SME builders confirmed that they hire apprentices compared with 59% in the Midlands and 52% in the South, according to our research.
The housebuilding industry employs upwards of 800,000 people in the UK, with roles spanning everything from planning and design to joinery and plumbing.
The industry currently faces supply and demand issues – with increasing demand for housing, but a shortage in those with the necessary skills to complete them. Taking on more apprentices can therefore help small businesses in this sector to maintain, and boost, their talent pipeline.
Our research demonstrated that SME builders employ a disproportionately high number of apprentices when compared to larger housebuilding firms. The challenge for many of these smaller firms is how can they keep this talent pipeline well stocked.
During National Apprenticeship Week we are often reminded of the opportunities and benefits for students in choosing the apprenticeship route.
Apprentices are vital for the continued growth of the housebuilding industry, particularly in a post-Covid-19 environment. Indeed, with the demand for properties unlikely to slow down in the short term, it’s clear that there are many opportunities for those interested in working in the sector to become an apprentice.
However, too often apprenticeships aren’t considered as often as other routes into the career market such as higher education. Indeed, a lack of information may be holding back some prospective apprentices from taking the plunge and exploring the sector. For example, some may not realise that there are many different areas that they can specialise in as an apprentice, from plumbing and electrics to carpentry and bricklaying.
To attract those young people information on the roles available needs to be more widely available.
For those small businesses looking to attract apprentices consider how best you can target potential applicants. Working with local schools and colleges will help you to build that talent pipeline and create interest in your apprenticeship roles. Using previous apprentices as role models and ambassadors for your business will also help to create interest and excitement around the opportunity- and they can help answer applicants’ questions too!
Partnering with training programmes and external organisations that can support the apprentices’ development and ensure they are exposed to the latest technology and innovations will also help to retain the apprentices within your business, as well as helping to boost productivity and innovation in your own business too. To find out more about how apprentices can benefit your business click here.
And for more information on our research into the housebuilding sector, click here to read Close Brothers Property Finance’s report in conjunction with Travis Perkins Plc and the Home Builders Federation.