The construction industry currently employs about 7% of the entire UK workforce, making it one of the biggest industries in Britain today. NotGoingToUni takes a look at apprenticeships available in construction … and where they can lead.
In the wake of last year’s Olympics, the government has pledged not only to give the housing market the kickstart it’s been needing for so long, but also to give the UK construction industry an equally long-awaited boost. So now could be the ideal time to look into a construction apprenticeship, either out there on the building site, or indoors at a desk, drawing board, or more likely, at a computer.
Indoor and outdoor roles are equally important in the construction industry, because architects and accountants are as essential to any construction project as the brickies, sparks, chippies, plumbers and painters onsite. No matter where you choose to serve your construction apprenticeship, you’ll be developing and sharpening the kind of skills you can take anywhere in the industry, both here in the UK and elsewhere around the world.
What to expect during an apprenticeship in construction?
Wherever you’re working, you’ll be part of a team. Admittedly you’ll be a very junior member to start with, so you’ll be expected to fetch and carry onsite, or file and photocopy in the office. And, of course, there’s the small matter of keeping everyone’s tea and coffee cups filled, both indoors and outside.
But as your apprenticeship progresses, you’ll get more and more responsibility as you find yourself being given support and assistant roles before you start undertaking tasks under supervision. It’s a time for watching and learning, to develop and sharpen the skills your career choice requires, and, of course, for receiving proper, relevant on-the-job vocational education.
But there’s more to a construction apprenticeship than work-based training: no matter whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, you’ll find yourself back in the classroom on a day-release or block-release basis.
There, you’ll be learning the theory behind what you’re doing in the workplace and while studying towards relevant nationally (and internationally) recognised qualifications which will open doors for you in the industry, and give you the advantage you need when it comes to applying for work.
Pay and prospects
The government has set the minimum UK apprenticeship wage at £2.65 an hour, but that’s not to say you won’t be paid more than that - after all, it’s been shown that the average apprentice weekly wage is around £170. At the beginning of the second year of your apprenticeship, you can expect your earnings to rise to the national minimum wage for your age group.
And as for employment rights and benefits, as an apprentice you’re entitled to exactly the same ones as everyone else in the company that’s taken you on. But what happens once your apprenticeship is over? Good question – you may have discovered you’ve got an aptitude for one particular aspect of the work you’ve been doing, and want to go on to an advanced apprenticeship to give you the skills and qualifications you need to specialise in that aspect.
On the other hand, you might just want to get out there into the working world and start the climb up your own personal career ladder. If that’s the case, and you’ve been impressing your employer with your willingness to learn and work hard, it could well be that you find yourself invited to return to the company on a permanent basis.
It happens quite regularly, in all industries, because it’s much less risky and considerably less expensive for a company to offer a position to someone they already know and trust than it is to recruit a total stranger from outside. If you want to find out more about construction apprenticeships, here’s a link to a couple of vacancy postings, and one to the website of the Federation of Master Builders.
Find apprenticeships in construction in our jobs section >>
http://www.fmb.org.uk – the Federation of Master Builders