“You get a national qualification, which is recognised not just in this country, but all over Europe, and that’s a very good thing to have.”
In honour of National Apprenticeship Week, a time where we celebrate the exceptional work being done by apprentices across the country, we took to the sites to find out what advice the tradespeople of Birmingham would give to an apprentice.
Some tradespeople we spoke to had once been apprentices themselves, while others had employed apprentices or worked alongside them. No matter their position, one message seemed to ring strongly: “study hard; stick to it!”
“With an apprenticeship, unfortunately, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. But, if you stick with it, you can end up having a fantastic career and earn a very, very good wage.”
Although the national minimum wage for apprentices is rising this April from £4.30 to £4.81 per hour, it’s still not a very encouraging salary. However, once an apprentice completes their first year, their hourly wage will increase to £8.36.
In addition, the cost of their training is covered by their employer. It’s also worth noting that some employers will pay their apprentices more than the minimum wage, anyway. Win-win!
On your first day
We asked the tradespeople of Birmingham what they would say an apprentice should or shouldn’t do on their first day, and this is what they said:
“Time keeping is the key.”
“Don’t fall for the wind-ups, obviously. Because you’re so willing, it might happen.
Don’t think you know it all, because everyday is a school day.”
Why we need more apprentices
From August 2020 to January 2021 there were 161,900 apprenticeship starts. This was a drop of 18% from the same period in 2019/20, with around 36,700 fewer starts, says the House of Commons Library.
“We’re lacking apprentices. We need the young generation to pick up where we started from. This is where I got to. We need young people back in the trade.”
It’s possible to complete a construction apprenticeship in almost anything, from on-site work to business development and management. If you’re looking for a leg into the industry, and you’re passionate, determined, and willing to learn, then an apprenticeship might just be for you.