National Apprentice Week highlights pandemic has made a dent in young people's decision making

More young women in Lancashire consider construction careers but cost-of-living crisis risks progress.

By Emma Downey
Friday, 11th February 2022, 4:55 am

Sixty percent of young people surveyed in Lancashire would consider an apprenticeship while half said the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the factors that are most important to them in terms of choosing a career path.

However, positive financial perceptions of pursuing an apprenticeship career route are at a four-year low, as the cost-of-living crisis bites..

Research launched during National Apprenticeship Week reveals that whilst there has been clear progress in the number of young people considering apprenticeships, there are wide-ranging concerns around the financial benefits, with sentiment around pay prospects at their lowest level since 2019.

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Former apprentice Ryan Tobin, 33, from Adlington is celebrating 10 years as a company director.

Now in its sixth year, Redrow’s Apprenticeship Report analyses the barriers to entry-level recruitment into the construction and the housebuilding sectors, as well as recommendations to overcome these.

Whilst more young women are considering a career in construction this year, and parents are having more conversations about apprenticeships with their children, positive financial associations of apprenticeships are trending down.

Redrow is calling on the government and industry to take advantage of today’s changing landscape and the opportunity to innovate the way they attract young people into apprenticeships by giving them more confidence about their future.

This year’s results show a wider concern around cost-of-living, and the long-term financial implications of undertaking an apprenticeship. Just 59 percent of young adults this year compared to 65 percent in 2019 agree that apprenticeships equate to earning money while studying and not incurring student debts.

However, alongside financial implications, the pandemic has changed what’s important for young people when choosing a career. One in five young believe that having a work/life balance that accommodates family, friends and hobbies is important with a similar proportion citing a desire for their career to have a positive impact on society.

Karen Jones, HR Director at Redrow, said: “Whilst it is clear there are still fundamental barriers in place hampering entry-level recruitment into the sector, things are also moving in the right direction.

"The quality of advice in schools is improving and the increasingly positive attitudes of young women and girls toward construction careers suggests the industry is becoming more welcoming and inclusive.

“As an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer we also pay our apprentices in excess of the National Minimum Wage for apprentices and greater industry adoption of this would help to ensure pay is not a barrier to training."

“Financial barriers, from the wages paid to how businesses can utilise the apprenticeship levy, risk derailing all the positive progress industry and government has made and must be urgently addressed.”