The latest Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s (CECA) annual training and development survey has revealed a dramatic shift in the amount of apprenticeships being taken on by contracting firms with the number rising by 40% in the space of a year.
That number is expected to rise once again by 32% in 2018 with CECA saying the data is suggesting that the UK Government’s much criticised reforms to apprenticeships are now having an impact on the sector.
It marks a big change from the common practice of hiring graduates as despite recruitment of those leaving education in 2017 growing by 37%, firms responded to the survey by saying they had cut programmes and expected numbers to fall by 31% this year.
Despite the soaring numbers of apprentices hired, the report does have a word of warning for ministers as CECA members still reported problems with the Apprenticeship Levy system and one in three payers indicated they were unlikely to spend their Apprenticeship Levy funds this year.
The aims of the survey undertaken by CECA were:
- Understand the type and quantity of training that CECA members have participated in
- Influence the CITB Grant scheme and other sources of funding
- Ensure that key stakeholder including Government, parliamentary parties and CITB take account of members training and development needs
- Appreciate and address any skills shortages perceived by members
- Identify training areas where there are insufficient training resources to match demands
CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said it was great news that efforts of member firms were now showing dividends with the boost in numbers of apprentices.
“Our members have battled through a lot of bureaucracy that has arisen with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy,” he added. “However, these firms have also told us that they see apprenticeships as one of the best routes to bring vital new workers into the sector. Over the coming year, CECA will be working with our members to further streamline the process, supporting members with engagement with providers and offering opportunities for smaller businesses to work together to recruit apprentices.”