Government urged to improve apprenticeships for vital infrastructure

TAC co-authors report calling for high tech construction apprenticeships to help drive the UK’s economic recovery.

Highly skilled, high-tech construction apprenticeships are needed to boost the skills needed in infrastructure projects to drive the UK’s economic recovery, according to a new report published by industry leaders today. (19/10/20).

The report, Build back better: Improving the apprenticeship system to better support infrastructure, written on behalf of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), University College of Estate Management (UCEM) and the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC), with data used from a CIC survey of employers, recommends that government works with CIC, employers and the professional bodies to:

  • Recognise the value of technical and higher-level apprenticeships leading to professional registration;
  • Increase the flexibility of the apprenticeship levy;
  • Join up and improve the apprenticeship systems across the UK;
  • Celebrate and promote apprenticeships.

Aled Williams, who co-authored the report and is CIC champion on higher education and UCEM’s director of research, innovation and partnerships, said: “The construction industry is integral to the UK’s financial health and can provide the catalyst for an economic recovery accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Apprenticeships are hugely important for employers to train workforces with the appropriate skill set to achieve the ambitious infrastructure projects projected across the nation, however, both businesses and education providers need to have more input in how these are run. The research shows that there is a desire throughout the construction industry to get apprenticeships right and, if government listens and acts upon the recommendations outlined, there could be huge benefits for the UK.”

Caroline Sudworth of TAC is also a co-author of the report. Gareth Drought, recently appointed chair of TAC, said: “This research has confirmed what we have known for a while at TAC, that many employers in our industry are fully committed to apprenticeships. However, if we are to see a true employer-led system emerge, now is the time for government to reflect on the recommendations in this report and build on our successes to date.

“We need to also ensure that what is currently in place works for employers and their apprentice workforce, drives forward high-quality education, which is fully supported by the apprenticeship levy, with direct links to professional registration. Only then will we be able to see the emergence of a pipeline of highly-skilled workers that delivers government’s long-term ambitions to build back better.”

CIC chief executive, Graham Watts, added: “Now is the time for government to work with our sector to showcase and promote the careers across the full spectrum of employers and occupational roles, showing the opportunity that future talent can have in driving forward innovation and technological solutions that will shape their environment for the better.”

Click here to read the full report.

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