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Poor careers advice exacerbating the construction sector skills-gap and discouraging apprentices

- 52% of young people have never given a career in construction ANY consideration
- Boys more likely than girls to receive advice on construction careers AND apprenticeships
- Only 17% of youngsters feel they receive high-quality, wide-ranging careers advice at school with 38% stating that advice was non-existent or not useful
- 9% of parents would actively discourage their child from pursuing a career in construction

Leading housebuilder Redrow’s latest research (Overcoming aversion to apprenticeships) surveys 2,000 parents and school age children and 147 of their own apprentices, throwing into sharp relief a lack of adequate advice on construction careers and apprenticeships in schools. Misperceptions of the range of careers available and what these entail is also rife.

This lack of knowledge and poor communication is a key contributor to the skills crisis which threatens to throw the housebuilding and construction industry into decline, particularly with Brexit potentially preventing or deterring workers from the EU.

Poor careers provision in schools
Half (50%) of young people questioned answered “no” when asked if information on careers in construction had ever been discussed with them verbally by a teacher or had been made readily available in careers literature. Young men were more likely to have been given advice on a career in construction, with 40% having received this. Just 29% of young women had received this advice in comparison. The result is that just 30% of young men questioned said a career in construction was a possibility for them and just 16% of young women. More than half (52%) of young people had never given a career in construction any consideration.

Nearly a third (32%) of the young people stated that they hadn’t received information at school on apprenticeships. Again, more men (64%) than women (55%) had received advice on apprenticeships.

Misguided perceptions
More than half (55%) of young people believe that “a career in construction mostly involves manual labour” – a view that fails to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the careers available. Nearly one in five (19%) of young people believe a career in construction does not require any qualifications beyond GCSEs.

33% (just shy of a third) of parents of school age children believe a career in construction mostly involves manual labour and more than a quarter (28%) of parents believe a career in construction mostly involves being on a building site. Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) parents would actively discourage their child from undertaking a career in construction.

Karen Jones, HR Director at Redrow, said: “Our latest research highlights the woeful inadequacy of the careers provision in schools in relation to construction and apprenticeships, but it also shows that the industry must get better at shouting about the numerous benefits of embarking down these roads. We are now at a turning point with more demand for new homes than ever before and at the same time a dwindling pool of talent to fulfil this.

“We urgently need greater collaboration and transparency between the industry, Government and schools. The industry must unite and work to promote role models to improve its image; the Government must implement a clear strategy for careers education and the quality of provision available at schools must be enhanced and widened.

“It is not right that most young people are not even considering a career in housebuilding or construction or that advice on apprenticeships is not dished out evenly to our girls and boys. We hope the findings in this report act as real food for thought and is a catalyst for change.”

Redrow's full report and recommendations can be found here: Overcoming aversion to apprenticeships  

Redrow was established in 1974. Today, it is one of the most successful and acclaimed property developers in the UK, building around 5,000 premium quality family homes a year in prime locations across England and Wales. Over Redrow’s history spanning more than 40 years, it has earned a unique reputation for quality and building beautiful homes, which people love to live in. To help achieve this it also focusses on two other key areas: valuing people and creating outstanding locations. Implementing its strategy whilst engaging with colleagues and stakeholders helps Redrow deliver significant value to investors and the wider community. Redrow is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For the year ended 30th June 2016, the Group reported record revenues of £1.38 billion. Redrow has been awarded the ‘Best Large Housebuilder’ title twice in the last three years at the What House? Awards. This year, Redrow was named as a UK Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for the fourth consecutive year. Visit redrow.co.uk for more details.