The skills shortage in the UK is still looming, with one in three construction firms choosing to not hire apprentices because they believe the system to be too bureaucratic, according to a new report.
The research, entitled 'Defusing the skills time bomb: Boosting apprenticeship training through construction SMEs', and conducted by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), set out to investigate the barriers to small construction firms training apprentices.
Among non-experienced recruiters of apprentices, the survey showed that the complexity and bureaucracy of the process was the main barrier to training apprentices, with other reasons including the quality of candidates and concerns over the ability to retain apprentices once trained.
It also revealed that while 94 per cent of small construction companies want to hire apprentices, one-third are concerned about the employment and training costs required to get apprentices involved in the scheme.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: "The construction industry is in the midst of a skills crisis which can only be solved if more employers take on apprentices."
"Just under 80 per cent of non-recruiters are not aware of one of the most important apprenticeship grants available to them and just over 75 per cent say knowledge of financial support would make them more likely to take on apprentices."
According to the Construction Industry Training Board, 220,000 new roles in the construction sector will be created over the coming five years, as the industry continues to recover from the recent economic downturn.
What's more, the construction industry has an aging workforce, with 400,000 individuals expected to retire in the next five to ten years.
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