Are construction and trade apprenticeships falling out of favour, asks insurer

Published:  04 January, 2016

New analysis from small business insurer Direct Line for Business reveals that construction and trade apprenticeships made up just 7% of all apprenticeships last year, down from a high of 12% in 2006.

While the number of total apprenticeships has increased by 57% in the last five years to 434,630 during 2013/14, only two construction and trade focused apprenticeships rank in the top ten.

This is vastly different to 2006/07 when construction skills apprenticeships topped the table, with more than 20,000 apprenticeships undertaken in this field.

Top 10 Apprenticeships by volume of available places, 2013/14, DL4B analysis of ONS data

Type of apprenticeship No. of apprenticeships Share of apprenticeships
1 Health and social care 70,080 15.9%
2 Business administration 44,190 10%
3 Management 33,140 7.5%
4 Hospiality and catering 32,010 7.3%
5 Customer service 31,320 7.1%
6 Children's care, learning and development 24,320 5.5%
7 Retail 16,560 3.8%
8 Engineering 15,550 3.5%
9 Construction skills 15,510 3.5%
10  Industrial applications 14,860 3.4%
Total 440,400

Additional analysis suggests that the number of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), Vocationally Related Qualifications (VRQs) and Qualification and Credit Framework Qualifications (QCFs) awarded between 2013 and 2014 fell by 14% from 5,443,000 to 4,684,000.

Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business said: “Construction and trade based skills are vital to the UK economy. It’s tradespeople who come to the rescue when our boiler fails, and are the ones who are working every day to build homes, offices and help improve our roads.

“Apprenticeships are important for budding builders, plumbers and electricians to get into the workplace. With fewer people in apprenticeships there is a risk of creating a skills gap that will affect businesses and consumers alike. The introduction of the new £3 billion apprenticeship levy in the Government’s Autumn Statement and the promise of 3 million new apprenticeships across the UK is a positive move, which we hope will make it easier for SMEs to ensure that they have access to skilled young workers.”

For more information on how to become an apprentice visit Gov.uk