Scaffolding Association welcomes the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2022 (7th – 13th February

illustration of workers on scaffold

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships. This week brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week theme will be ‘build the future’; reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

There are over 1,200 virtual and in-person events planned targeted at a  range of audiences including stakeholders, businesses, training providers and schools. A full events listing can be found here.

Last year, industry leaders from the construction industry called on the government to boost apprenticeships following a 40% drop in people joining industry-relevant schemes, (16,000) compared with the five-year average of (22,500). Statistics for the latest academic year are due for publication later this month. 

During the course of 2021 the government announced £7m funding to support flexible apprenticeship opportunities so that sectors including construction industries could bid for a share of the fund to support the creation of new flexible apprenticeships, intended to unlock opportunities for people to develop the skills they need to get good jobs.

The government also reminded businesses to ensure that apprentices are paid at least the National Minimum Wage. This followed the publication of a report from the Low Pay Commission which found that around 1 in 5 apprentices earn less than their legal entitlement sighting several common errors by businesses including:

  • failure to pay the higher age-related minimum wage rate to those apprentices who are aged 19 and over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship
  • paying the £4.30 per hour minimum wage apprentice rate before or after an apprenticeship actually starts or finishes
  • not paying for all the time worked by an apprentice – training time is working time

Robert Candy, Chief Executive of the Scaffolding Association said “The construction industry is suffering from significant skills shortages and apprenticeships can provide an excellent start for many seeking a career in the industry”.

A report published by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) last year found that 37% of the construction workforce are over the age of 50 and estimated that 217,000 workers will need to be recruited into the industry over the next 5 years. 

Robert Candy added “Attracting a new generation of workers is critical but this is only part of the problem – keeping them is just as important.  Paying them correctly, providing training that is relevant and embraces modern innovation and technology and ensuring qualifications gained provide access to work are all vital to the growth and success of apprenticeships across all sectors”.

For more information on apprenticeships and to get involved in National Apprenticeship Week click here.


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