Nearly 60 per cent of SME construction bosses start as apprentices

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Research has revealed over half of all SME construction owners started their career as an apprentice…

More than half of SME bosses run their own company within seven years of completing apprenticeship training, according to new research.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that nearly 60 per cent of SME construction heads started their career as an apprentice, highlighting the value of this route into work.

As National Apprenticeship Week reaches the half-way mark, the importance of apprenticeships for the sector is becoming increasingly apparent. In fact, some 98 per cent of construction SME owners said they would value an apprenticeship over a degree when hiring new staff.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The construction industry is ideally suited to a young person with heaps of ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Our research demonstrates that a construction apprenticeship is the perfect springboard for a successful and rewarding career, with more than half of construction SMEs being run by people who started out as an apprentice.

“Of those who went on to start their own businesses, more than one in two reached that goal within a mere seven years of completing their apprenticeship training, showing that you can go from being a brickie to a business owner in no time at all.

“Even if running your own firm isn’t what you aspire to do, a construction apprenticeship can nevertheless provide the foundation for a highly rewarding career.

“Almost 80 per cent of our SME construction bosses said that employment in the sector offers high levels of job satisfaction with tangible results and 87 per cent believe an apprenticeship teaches useful and practical skills.

“What’s more, by the age of 23, a bricklayer with five years’ experience can earn up to £31,000 and rising in some cases to £52,000 in London.

“Given the high levels of university tuition fees, young people have every reason to properly consider a more vocational education and pursuing a career in construction looks an increasingly shrewd move.”

Tony Passmore, Managing Director of the Passmore Group – an FMB member firm –​ added: “I’ve been working in the construction industry for a long time now and I’ve lost count of the number of young people who I’ve seen start out at the bottom, put in the hard work during their apprenticeship, and then rise up through the ranks to set up their own firm.

“Many of them wouldn’t have guessed they’d soon be running their own business when they first entered the construction industry and started their apprenticeship.

“And for those who aren’t keen on running their own firm, most jobs in the construction industry give you the freedom to work anywhere in the country – or better still, anywhere in the world.”

National Apprenticeship Week will run until 18 March.

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