Over 50 and working in construction? You’re not alone

Over 50 and working in construction? You’re not alone

21st September 2021 | Hudson Contract

The proportion of construction workers aged 50 and above has risen by a fifth during the last decade. The number of new apprentices has fallen by nearly a quarter in the last five years.

These figures show the challenge facing our industry and feature in Hudson Contract's special report, Investing in the Future of Construction.

Based on official statistics, Freedom of Information requests, extensive client interviews and a quarter of a century’s experience in the industry, our report illustrates the ageing profile of the construction worker and underlines the need to attract new entrants. Our key recommendation is to increase the intake of Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships.

The report looks at barriers to these types of apprenticeships and concludes that government and industry leaders should work harder to publicise the different types of financial support available – such as the apprenticeship levy transfer scheme – to encourage smaller construction firms to take on new recruits.

“The commitment these smaller companies make is huge,” said report author Fiona Gamwell, communications officer at Hudson Contract. “They sign up to spending 8-10 hours a day, four days a week with apprentices they take the time to teach, develop and mentor into future tradespeople.

“The commitment is not just in time and money, but also in emotional support. Put like this, it is surprising these small firms take on apprentices, but they do and the main reason behind it is they want to pass on their knowledge. These employers once had someone give them the chance of learning a trade and they want to give the next generation the same opportunity.”

Hudson Contract has launched a new website, Construction Apprenticeships, to encourage young people and employers alike to consider apprenticeships. The new site provides clear and simple answers to the questions most commonly asked about apprenticeships and aims to simplify the box-ticking bureaucracy involved in hiring young people.

The new report also shares the stories of successful apprentices, including those sponsored by Hudson Contract in its pioneering scheme to create meaningful training opportunities for young people in the towns of Bridlington and Scarborough.

The report can be read in full here.

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