Construction Skills Shortages and the Apprenticeship Levy

In March of this year, Thatcher Associates wrote a piece for the Bristol Business Post. We looked into the issue of skills shortages in the construction industry and how the Apprenticeship Levy was likely to influence these shortages.

Considering it’s now a few months on and the Apprenticeship Levy is officially in full swing, we thought we’d re-visit our Bristol Business Post piece and look at the impacts that the Apprenticeship Levy seems to have had so far.

Bridging the Skills Gap

Here at Thatcher Associates, we see first-hand the need for the construction industry to find the skills to sustain continued growth and development throughout the sector; a sector in constant need of skilled professionals whom are required to meet the necessities of the nation’s infrastructure needs.

In response to the current skills gap, it’s clear that there is a real need for investment in training in order to prepare the next generation of professionals to drive the industries future prosperity; without which, we are likely to witness fundamental negative impacts in the long-run.

As we know, April saw the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. The levy is designed to support apprenticeships across a wide range of industries (construction of course included) in order to replace taxpayer funding – highlighting the importance of vocational education throughout the UK.

The Impact of the Apprenticeship Levy

So, the largest companies and biggest earners in construction (that’s about 1% of the companies currently registered with the CIOB) have begun to pay out for the levy – but what can be said for the scheme so far and how are companies currently trying to make the most out of it?

Although many construction and property companies have been investing in apprenticeships for a while; for some, the Apprenticeship Levy will have provoked their very first involvement with an apprentice - so ultimately, investing in future talent has begun to be increasingly viewed as good business sense.

“Targeting employment opportunities with 16-18-year-olds means you’re getting the pick of the best talent out there; people that age are at their peak for learning and developing skills.”

It has been suggested that although the levy has so far been seen in a largely positive light, especially within the construction industry, something needs to be done about public perceptions of apprenticeships which can so often be negative – this must change in order for the benefits of the levy to be maximised.

For many within the construction industry, the main impact so far has been that companies have had to shine a light on their apprenticeship strategies – forced to enhance and develop the professional development of their workforce in general.

Considering the short amount of time that the levy has been in action, really, one of the biggest impacts has probably been the change in opinions surrounding apprenticeships within the industry. It looks as though the industry increasingly understands the benefits of vocational training. 

Of course, in a few months’ time, we’re likely to see many more impacts that the levy will encourage.

If you’d like to read our piece in the Bristol Business Post, you can find it by following this link and heading over to page 26.

What are your thoughts on the Apprenticeship Levy? Do you feel as though it’s had much of an impact? Tweet us your thoughts: @ThatcherAssoc.