Poor careers advice and misguided perceptions discouraging apprentices into construction

Leading housebuilder Redrow’s latest research surveys 2,000 parents and school age children and 147 of their own apprentices, throwing into sharp relief a lack of adequate advice on construction careers and apprenticeships in schools. Misperceptions of the range of careers available and what these entail is also rife.

This lack of knowledge and poor communication is a key contributor to the skills crisis which threatens to throw the housebuilding and construction industry into decline, particularly with Brexit potentially preventing or deterring workers from the EU.

Half (50%) of young people questioned answered “no” when asked if information on careers in construction had ever been discussed with them verbally by a teacher or had been made readily available in careers literature. Young men were more likely to have been given advice on a career in construction, with 40% having received this. Just 29% of young women had received this advice in comparison. The result is that just 30% of young men questioned said a career in construction was a possibility for them and just 16% of young women. More than half (52%) of young people had never given a career in construction any consideration.

Nearly a third (32%) of the young people stated that they hadn’t received information at school on apprenticeships. Again, more men (64%) than women (55%) had received advice on apprenticeships.

Misguided perceptions

More than half (55%) of young people believe that “a career in construction mostly involves manual labour” – a view that fails to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the careers available. Nearly one in five (19%) of young people believe a career in construction does not require any qualifications beyond GCSEs.

33% (just shy of a third) of parents of school age children believe a career in construction mostly involves manual labour and more than a quarter (28%) of parents believe a career in construction mostly involves being on a building site. Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) parents would actively discourage their child from undertaking a career in construction.

Karen Jones, HR Director at Redrow, said:

“Our latest research highlights the woeful inadequacy of the careers provision in schools in relation to construction and apprenticeships, but it also shows that the industry must get better at shouting about the numerous benefits of embarking down these roads. We are now at a turning point with more demand for new homes than ever before and at the same time a dwindling pool of talent to fulfil this. 

“We urgently need greater collaboration and transparency between the industry, Government and schools. The industry must unite and work to promote role models to improve its image; the Government must implement a clear strategy for careers education and the quality of provision available at schools must be enhanced and widened. 

“It is not right that most young people are not even considering a career in housebuilding or construction or that advice on apprenticeships is not dished out evenly to our girls and boys. We hope the findings in this report act as real food for thought and is a catalyst for change.”

Redrow’s full report and recommendations can be found here: Overcoming aversion to apprenticeships



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