Apprentices: Construction

Department for Education written question – answered on 15th July 2020.

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Photo of Mick Whitley Mick Whitley Labour, Birkenhead

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to help increase the number of apprentice places available in the construction industry.

Photo of Mick Whitley Mick Whitley Labour, Birkenhead

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that there is greater (a) gender and (b) BAME diversity among construction apprentices.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support all businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and will provide further details in due course.

Apprenticeships are jobs with training and form an employer-led programme where employers choose which apprenticeships they offer to meet their current and future skills need. There are currently 86 high quality construction standards at different levels, designed by industry to equip individuals with the skills that employers want. A further 12 standards are in development and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is working to approve these as soon as possible.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and the Prime Minister recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects aimed at stimulating the sector and help to recruit and retain staff including apprentices. We are working with the sector to encourage take up of new apprentices and continue to work with employers including Persimmons Homes and Balfour Beatty through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups including Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) and women.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here

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