We have all by now read the deluge of headlines hitting construction, highlighting the exit of EU workers leaving behind an even more acute shortage of skilled labour for specialist trades.
TICA is working hard alongside many other industry associations to press for Home Office intervention in looking at the current approach to the points based immigration process, but we must all accept that there is going to be no ‘U’ turn anytime soon.
The immediate solution to this must come from within our sector.
If you are not yet advertising to recruit an apprentice, I would urge you to contact our recruitment team and place an advert for your company and your location through our team on the National Find an Apprentice website where all young people looking for apprenticeships will be looking at.
Whilst we are working intensely to produce more modern marketing material to attract new entrants to our sector including video, we must utilise what we have.
Our four year indentured apprenticeship is really valuable to young people if we communicate this correctly and it can lead onto many different avenues within our sector.
Indentures really do mean something – especially to parents who in many cases are making decisions very closely with their families.
The good news is that to fill the vast majority of our labour gaps, we need Level 2 insulators. Apprentices enrolled on this programme will typically be providing a return on investment within six months. They will be through End Point Assessment i.e competent to Level 2 within 14 – 18 months.
TICA has significant capacity at our National Training Centre and a highly regarded Apprenticeship Standard.
Inductions are scheduled for September and to encourage English employers, registering new apprentices who have joined your organisation since 1 April 2021 upto 30 September 2021 you will be able to claim a £3k Government incentive (per apprentice) paid directly to your business. For Scottish employers, we continue to part fund accommodation with a grant of up to £1500 per apprentice.
With more than 500,000 construction workers expected to retire in the next 10 – 15 years our sector already had a skilled labour problem. Current migration, demand and Brexit related issues are further exacerbating this.
Skilled labour shortages are also driving up wage costs with some agencies recently reporting a 4.5% increase in May alone.
The points based immigration system makes it absolutely clear that employers must focus on investing in the domestic workforce and currently we see no possible hint of a change in this policy.
We urge you to consider placing apprentices on a TICA training programme this September, and to recruit now using the temporary six month CSCS probationary card to ensure these new recruits can start work immediately in your organisation and gain a valuable base before embarking on their formal apprenticeship training programme with TICA in September.
It has never been more important to recruit and train than it is today.