One of the UK’s largest housebuilders has welcomed the new apprenticeship levy, which comes into effect this week, as part of a wider strategy needed to help plug the construction skills shortage in the residential development industry and in turn boost the supply of new build homes.
The shortage of skilled labour in the construction industry has been a major hurdle facing housebuilders in recent years.
It is estimated that around 50,000 homes across England alone are still waiting to be built despite receiving planning consent partly because of a construction skills shortage in the housebuilding industry.
Developers have been trying to address the issue through the Home Building Skills Partnership (HBP), a pan industry body set up by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Home Builders Federation (HBF) to develop, grow and sustain a programme that provides the workforce the industry requires to deliver the increases in housing supply the country currently requires.
It is therefore no surprise that Redrow Homes has welcomed the new apprenticeship levy, which starts on Thursday 6th April.
Karen Jones, HR director at Redrow, said: “The government’s recognition of the need to focus on grassroots recruitment through a number of avenues is to be applauded, and the introduction of the levy will directly increase the number of businesses growing apprentice numbers across the UK.
“Technical skillsets, in particular in sectors such as construction, engineering and health and social care, are vital to the strength of UK PLC but are currently in short supply so this policy represents a significant step in the right direction.”
With the number of new homes being built across the UK still significantly below the level needed to meet demand, Redrow recognise that in order to increase the supply of much needed new build homes across the country, more actually needs to be done to help alleviate the challenges and obstacles facing residential property developers.
Jones continued: “The impetus to increase take up can’t be led by government alone; now is the time for greater collaboration and industries with skills shortages should unite to better promote the benefits to young people of undertaking apprenticeships, and pursuing a career, in their respective areas.”
Jones believes that there is also work to be done in terms of schools and a coherent careers education policy, after Redrow surveyed 1,000 young people earlier this year, revealing that a third have never received information at school on apprenticeships.
“The apprenticeship levy should be viewed as one element of a holistic strategy and we need better collaboration on best practice within industry, as well as improved resourcing and information for schools to encourage children down a technical career path where appropriate. The introduction and future focus on T-levels is therefore welcome.
“Although the emphasis of the government to date has been on apprenticeship starts, we must move to placing an equal emphasis on measuring and reporting on completions across all sectors and the quality of the training provided, as observed by the Commons Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy. We agree that only through measurement, particularly of attrition rates, can we inform future strategies effectively.”