More than half of Scottish construction employers have changed apprentice recruitment plans due to COVID

Scotland’s construction companies have called for additional support measures to help shape the future of apprenticeships after it was revealed that the coronavirus pandemic had altered the recruitment plans at more than half of business in the country.

Ian Hughes

A survey was conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in collaboration with the Scottish Construction Modern Apprenticeship Task Force which sought to understand the views of employers on their immediate and longer-term plans.

Having received over 600 responses, the poll found that coronavirus has caused just over half (55%) of Scottish employers who had planned to recruit an apprentice this year to change their plans.

While over three quarters (76%) of employers saw value in this year’s apprentice applicants completing construction pre-employment training, the respondents called for additional support measures such as grants and funding, subsidised wages, and work trials to encourage employers to hire an apprentice.

The results were shared with the Scottish Government, which has since committed £60 million to support pathways to apprenticeships and create additional opportunities in colleges through a new Youth Guarantee. CITB will soon also unveil its longer-term strategic plan to support skills and training in the industry, as it moves towards the recovery phase.

Ian Hughes, CITB partnerships director Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many employers engaging with our recent survey. I’d like to thank all those who took part and provided vital insight into the help that is needed.

“Following feedback we will be ensuring apprenticeship grants are maintained at their present levels. We are also working with government, industry and the FE sector to investigate how best we can design a pre-apprenticeship training programme that can retain talent. It’s essential that we provide the support employers need to protect and secure the future of apprenticeships.”

For more information on the survey findings, view the research report.

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