Recruiting and training the next generation of construction professionals is crucial to address the growing skills shortage in the industry. As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Prater’s managing director Gavin Hamblett explains why apprentices are so important and how Prater is investing in the future of the sector.
The skills and expertise base that has developed within the industry over many decades is now being eroded as experienced individuals retire with not enough young people taking up roles in construction. Government initiatives and financial incentives can only do so much to fix this problem so it is up to businesses to be proactive to ensure skills and knowledge are passed on to the next generation.
At Prater, we believe that apprentices are a key part of this and our newly redesigned apprenticeship scheme, launched last September, is already helping to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed in the industry. The two-year programme has been formulated to provide a comprehensive view of the business. This starts with a series of three-month work rotations in different areas of the company including Design and Technical, Sales and Estimating, Operations and Buying as well as other functions integral to the business such as Finance and HR. Throughout this first year the apprentices are also studying for a construction HNC through a day release to college.
This will not only help the apprentices find the role they will excel in but also provide a more complete perspective on how that role fits with the wider business. Ultimately, these young people could be the future leaders of the industry so ensuring they have this wider knowledge and rounded view early in their careers is a huge advantage.
The combination of hands on training supported by relevant classroom learning that apprenticeships offer is a formula that is ideal for roles in construction. With the benefits to companies being demonstrated again and again, it is our hope that other businesses across the sector will be encouraged to establish their own apprenticeship schemes.
Sadly, many people have a false impression of what a career in construction can be. Often the most interesting and technical aspects of the sector, the diversity of possible roles and opportunities for growth are lost to the negative and outdated stereotypes of the industry. This is why as a business we continue to work with schools and colleges to inspire those choosing a career. We believe we have a duty to ensure that the younger generation are educated on all that the construction industry can offer.
Apprenticeships are an excellent way for talented individuals to find a place where they can grow and excel. Attracting new talent is vital to ensure the continued success of the industry. The landscape is changing but we need more businesses to invest time and money in attracting new people to the industry and supporting the next generation.