Skills shortage release on eve of GCSE results

So what’s next? That will be the main question for thousands of students and parents across the country on Thursday after GCSE results are announced. Most will have already chosen which college they are going to post GCSE and whether they will be going to university.

But for some, it may not be as clear and they will be looking for something to inspire them, an alternative to the school, higher education, employment route. A construction apprenticeship could well be the positive challenge they are looking for.

However, analysis by the Local Government Association has revealed a growing imbalance between the construction industry’s increasing demand for skills and a falling number of people joining the sector.

This increasingly acute skills shortage in the construction sector is a widely recognised problem.  The Brick Development Association (BDA) recognises the need to attract school leavers into vocational training and is actively participating in the drive to recruit trainees and to encourage contractors to employ college leavers and apprentices.

Simon Hay, CEO of the Brick Development Association comments:

“Housing starts are at their highest annual level since 2007 and upholding the source of killed workers has been paramount in keeping the UK building the homes that are so greatly needed. If we are to continually see housing starts rise we seriously need to put an emphasis on the creation of more apprenticeships across the construction sector.

“Here at the BDA the main aim is to attract and guide more young people into the construction industry. Apprentices are the next generation and play an important role in the future of construction. It is crucial that we are not just creating jobs in the short term but equipping apprentices with the skills that will enable them to build enjoyable, lifelong, successful careers.

Charlie Wilcox, 16 years old, has dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps as a bricklayer ever since he could lift a trowel. The only career he has ever wanted to tackle, Charlie is now into his first year of his NVQ at the North East Surrey College of Technology (N.E.S.C.O.T) in Epsom.

Charlie explains:

“With my dad being a bricklayer I have grown up around bricks and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do I guess because I love the outdoors, I’m an outdoors person.”

“It was my own decision to become a bricklayer. When I was young I would always ask if I could help, there are pictures of me laying bricks as a kid, and I’ve always loved it.”

Now into the second year of his apprenticeship Charlie is shaping to be a promising prospect and valuable asset to the future of the UK construction industry. Having mastered the basics of bricklaying Charlie has now moved onto tougher projects and tasks.

He added:

“I’m constantly learning new stuff because when I first started I didn’t know what anything was and now when I’m asked to do something I can just get on a do it without having to ask for advice.”

Alongside Charlie at N.E.S.C.O.T is a vibrant group of young apprentices working their way towards their future goals and joining the construction industry. They understand there is no better time than now with the huge revival in the housing market. Being in the presence of like-minded individuals is a huge pulling factor for Charlie who said that the friends he has made during his time at college are a great bunch of guys dedicated to improving their skills and knowledge in the construction industry.