Pandemic causes Scottish construction employers to rethink apprentice plans

Ian Hughes

THE Covid-19 crisis has caused 55% of Scottish employers who had planned to recruit an apprentice this year to change their plans, according to new research.

The CITB explained that a survey, conducted in collaboration with the Scottish Construction Modern Apprenticeship Task Force, sought to understand the views of employers on their immediate and longer term plans, and received over 600 responses.

Other findings included the fact that additional support measures such as grants and funding, subsidised wages, and work trials would be helpful in encouraging these employers to hire an apprentice. And 76% of respondents said they saw value in this year’s apprentice applicants completing construction pre-employment training.

The results were shared with the Scottish Government, who have since committed £60 million to support pathways to apprenticeships and create additional opportunities in colleges through a new Youth Guarantee.

CITB will soon unveil its longer term strategic plan to support skills and training in the industry, as it moves towards the recovery phase.

Ian Hughes, CITB partnerships director Scotland said, “It’s fantastic to see so many employers engaging with our recent survey. I’d like to thank all those who took part and provided vital insight into the help that is needed. Following feedback we will be ensuring apprenticeship grants are maintained at their present levels. We are also working with government, industry and the FE sector to investigate how best we can design a pre-apprenticeship training programme that can retain talent. It’s essential that we provide the support employers need to protect and secure the future of apprenticeships.”