Can industry apprenticeships combat youth unemployment, asks CIOB

With National Apprenticeship Week in full flow the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) highlights the role apprenticeships play in tackling youth unemployment.

According to the ‘No More Lost Generations’ report, commissioned by a group of Parliamentarians and supported by the CIOB, the UK has almost 1 million young people not in education, employment or training.

The latest batch of government figures show that only half of the apprentices that undertook Construction, Planning and the Built Environment courses during 2013/14 actually achieved their qualifications.

Bridget Bartlett Deputy Chief Executive at the CIOB said:

“We are supportive of government efforts to scale up the quantity and quality of apprenticeships in recent years and the new degree apprenticeships announced by the Prime Minister yesterday. However if apprenticeships are going to make a big difference for those who take them, and the industry, then we must have higher completion rates.”

“Vocational training does not receive the recognition it should. But as can be seen in two new reports from the Education Select Committee and The Commission on Apprenticeships it is an ideal mechanism for those outside the usual academic route to gain a pathway into a professional career. Also the opportunity to earn while you learn and avoid the large debts that are intrinsically linked to university education is becoming an attractive option for many young people. Construction has its role to play in combatting youth unemployment and this is why the CIOB is working with employers to improve access to a career in construction.”

The CIOB is supporting a new two-part, six-year degree apprenticeship leading to an honours degree and Chartered membership (MCIOB) without students being burdened by debt.

Around 80 school-leavers or recent entrants to the industry will start earning-and-learning on this new ‘degree’ apprenticeship. They will be recruited into five streams: construction management, civil engineering, building services engineering, design coordination, and quantity surveying.

The courses have been developed in partnership between the CIOB, ICE, CIBSE, CIAT and RICS. The new training option is offered by a consortium led by Balfour Beatty, which intends to recruit 35 young people to the course, made up of a three-year Higher Apprenticeship leading to an HNC followed by a three year degree apprenticeship. The other places on offer will be shared between BAM Construct, Galliford Try, Carillion, Lend Lease and Willmott Dixon.