Misguided or not guided at all: young people failed by poor advice

Housebuilder Redrow's latest survey of school children and parents and the company's own apprentices, released to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, has shed fresh light on the size of the challenge that construction employers face in attracting young people to the industry.

Top line findings of Redrow's report include 52% of young people having never given a career in construction any consideration; only 17% feel they receive high quality, wide ranging careers advice at school; 38% stated the advice was non-existent or not useful; and 9% of parents said they would discourage their child from pursuing a career in construction.

A lack of good advice, or no advice at all and common misperceptions are key contributors to the industry's skills problem, the Redrow report says. Around 55% of young people think a career in construction will mostly involve manual labour. Nearly one in five think a job in the industry will not require qualifications beyond GCSEs. These views extend to their parents as well, with a third of adults believing a construction career means life on a building site.

Redrow's human resources director, Karen Jones, said: “Our latest research highlights the woeful inadequacy of careers provision in schools in relation to construction and apprenticeships, but it also shows that the industry must get better at shouting about the numerous benefits of embarking down these roads. We are now at a turning point with more demand for new homes than ever before and at the same time a dwindling pool of talent to fulfil this.

“We urgently need greater collaboration and transparency between the industry, government and schools. The industry must unite and work to promote role models to improve its image; the Government must implement a clear strategy for careers education and the quality of provision available at schools must be enhanced and widened."