Construction apprenticeships – 9 things you need to know

construction apprenticeships

Construction apprenticeships are varied to suit all interests, operate from GCSE to degree level and can lead to a rewarding and well-paid career. Find out more!

1. What is a construction apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job with an employer where you get structured training and a qualification. You get a lower salary at first – which never goes below minimum wage – because you are also studying towards your job-related qualification. A construction apprenticeship is a way to build up work skills, train towards a qualification that will be respected by employers, and get an insider’s knowledge of the industry. More than 90% of UK apprentices stay in employment after their course ends and 67% stick with the same employer!

2. Construction apprenticeships are expanding

There are so many types of construction apprenticeships available. Feast your eyes on some examples:

  • Building services engineering technician
  • Building services engineering site management
  • Civil engineering site management
  • Construction design management
  • Construction quantity surveyor
  • Construction site engineering technician
  • Construction site management
  • Construction surveying technician

The world of construction needs people with a huge range of interests and backgrounds. If your strength lies in people skills, management, business and finance, science and engineering, practical work, or even art and design, there’s a construction apprenticeship that could be a good fit for you.

3. A popular alternative to A-levels and degrees

DID YOU KNOW? Construction, planning and the built environment is an expanding sector for higher and degree level apprenticeships.

Whichever stage of life you’re at, you can apply for an apprenticeship that’s a good fit for your level of education.

An alternative to A-levels

If you’ve left school after doing your GCSEs or their equivalents, you could apply for a level 3/advanced construction apprenticeship. There are lots on offer across the UK. They’re typically equivalent to doing A-levels, and an increasingly popular way to earn a salary while training vocational qualifications and developing skills and knowledge on the job at the same time.

Degree-level construction apprenticeships

You can currently get higher and degree level construction apprenticeships in these areas of work:

  • Frameworks (e.g. timber frame estimation or site management apprenticeships)
  • Construction management (levels 4-6)
  • Standards
  • Chartered surveying (level 6)

Find out more about higher and degree apprenticeships

4. Construction apprenticeships offer sky-high career prospects.

According to Department for Education research, a quarter of former apprentices (23%) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying.

Many top-tier construction professionals in management positions began as apprentices. Not having a degree won’t hold you back. Your experience of the construction, planning and built environment world will count for a lot. An apprenticeship also means you’ll be developing valuable skills and expertise in your area in a practical way, while networking with people in the industry in a way that can lead to promising opportunities.

The UK needs over 3,000 construction managers every year. Apply for a construction management apprenticeship now, and you could be the in-demand hot young construction talent of the future.

5. How you did in school doesn’t matter. What you want to do with your life does.

There’s a myth that a construction apprenticeship is usually chosen as an option by people who didn’t do well at school.

It’s just that – a myth.

You can get fantastic grades and still decide you’re excited to get into some of the best-paid construction jobs in the UK through an apprenticeship, working your way up to a professional qualification that takes you places.

However you did at school, you can allow yourself to choose a career that actually interests you – one that can give you responsibility, influence, job satisfaction and a feeling that you’re changing the world for the better.

6. You can choose a construction apprenticeship AND higher education

Although lots more people are choosing apprenticeships as an alternative to university, doing one doesn’t rule out the other. If you want, you can have your education cake and eat it too. Nearly a fifth (19%) of advanced apprentices go onto higher education over time after completing an apprenticeship.

7. Employers value construction apprenticeships

In 2015/16, there were 21,000 apprenticeship starts in England in the construction, planning and built environment sector.That’s a lot of employers offering a lot of construction apprenticeships. Employers clearly love apprentices… but will they still love you when your apprenticeship is complete?

The answer is yes.

Employers love apprenticeships because they know you’ve commited to making a rewarding life for yourself and working towards future goals. When you take on an apprenticeship it shows employers that you can pick up new information and also develop the skills and knowledge they want to see.

In addition to technical skills and insider learning, a construction apprenticeship shows employers you can pick up all those ‘invisible’ skills – like not being late to work, being polite, managing your time well, having enthusiasm, taking direction from your manager and knowing it’s okay to ask questions when you need to. You might not always see these mentioned on a job application but employers REALLY want you to have these skills, known as Young Professional skills.

You can get free training with Youth Employment UK to develop these skills in your own time. It will help your construction CV and apprenticeship application stand out to employers.

8. Construction apprenticeships are likely to lead to a rewarding full-time job

UK research shows that more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their course ends, with 67% sticking with the same employer.

What do these stats mean?

  • Employers want to give you a job at the end of your apprenticeship. Why would they give that job to someone else, when they’ve already trained you to be their dream candidate?
  • Apprentices value their time with their employer enough to stick with them when the apprenticeship is over.

9. A construction apprenticeship offers all kinds of career opportunities… and not just in construction.

Obviously it’s great if you WANT to stay in construction when you’ve completed your construction apprenticeship. But you are not limited to working in just one sector. Your apprenticeship qualification will be valued in other industries, too – and so will the Young Professional skills you picked up during your apprenticeship, because these are skills that every employer wants to see.

Your choice of construction apprenticeship, or the work and training you do on it, may shape your future career thoughts in a certain direction. You may discover you want to explore business and finance, or engineering, or personnel and people management. And that’s fine. A construction apprenticeship is a valuable introduction to the world of work, and the knowledge you’ll pick up will be valuable in other sectors too.

What you’ll learn about leadership and business in a construction management apprenticeship, for example, will translate really well to other sectors like hospitality and catering, or engineering and manufacture, or logistics and travel… and that’s just to name a few sectors.

So a construction apprenticeship doesn’t lock you out of any future choices. It opens doors.

Find out more about getting into careers in construction and explore our construction careers advice.

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For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

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