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Apprenticeships better than degrees for construction sector, says new survey

Apprenticeships are better at preparing young people for work in the construction industry than degrees, according to a new employer survey.

The survey polled 300 employers in the UK construction industry, all of which had taken on at least one qualified young person in the last two years. On average, these employers rated Apprenticeships and S/NVQs as roughly seven out of ten for delivering work-ready young people, compared with an average 5.5 score for degree qualifications.

However, 80% of the respondents also said they had to offer additional training to the young people they had recruited, regardless of their qualification.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of the CITB-ConstructionSkills sector skills council, which published the research, said: “Although it’s great to see that employers clearly appreciate the training that our apprentices have, it’s still a cause for concern that many feel they have to offer ‘top up training’ in some key areas.”

Farrar said the sector skills council is working closely with the government, employers, and training providers to ensure qualifications meet expectations, such as lobbying for longer Apprenticeship programmes.

“However, there’s clearly more to be done in this area to minimize the need for immediate further development for new entrants into the sector,” he added.

According to the survey, the three top areas of strength for both Apprenticeships and S/NVQs were training in health, safety and legislation; how to move, handle and store resources; and team working.

The three most common areas that respondents identified for improvement were in job-specific technical skills; estimating and costing; and IT skills.

Natalie Thornhill

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