Only a fifth of tradespeople hire apprentices

Apprentices are crucial to tackling the skills shortage, but only a fifth of tradespeople hire one, new research from Screwfix has revealed.

9 in 10 tradespeople questioned agreed that apprentices are vital to the future of the industry, but only 18% currently hire one, and 31% said they would never hire one, highlighting a huge shortage of future tradespeople having the chance to learn a trade.

Not being able to afford extra costs such as insurance and pensions (19%), and not having enough support from grants (13%) are cited as the key barriers tradespeople face when trying to get an apprentice on their payroll.

Other reasons included not having time to train an apprentice, and not knowing how to even go about recruiting one.

However, with 31% having previously employed an apprentice and currently considering hiring another one, there are likely to be opportunities for apprentices to find a placement in the future.

Additionally, of the 18% who currently hire an apprentice, 73% say they would hire another in the future, recognising the added value young tradespeople can bring to a company.

The research has been revealed as Screwfix launches its annual Screwfix Trade Apprentice competition, to champion the best new talent in the industry.

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital Director said: “The fact is that there is a real shortage of tradespeople in the UK. And, as our research shows it’s clear just how vital apprentices are to future-proof the industry.

“Our skilled tradespeople tell us there is a lot to be gained from a career in the industry, so every year we launch this competition to highlight the future champions of the trade and throw a spotlight on what a brilliant and rewarding career path it can be. Tradespeople are essential to the economy, and we need to ensure every trade has a future.”

The survey suggested that businesses employ apprentices to create a sustainable talent pipeline, to pass skills on to a new generation, and to give people an opportunity to start out.

Tradespeople cited that to be successful in the trade, the key skills needed include being honest (89%), being adaptable (88%), and being a good timekeeper (82%). Being skilled (79%) and being a people-person (66%) were also essential to doing well.

With 8 in 10 tradespeople recommending a career in the trade due to no two days being the same (79%), seeing satisfied customers (72%), and being your own boss (58%), there is plenty to encourage people to consider learning a trade by doing an apprenticeship.

Kaiden Ashun, 21, from Cardiff, won the Screwfix Trade Apprentice title in 2021. He says he wouldn’t change a thing about learning a trade: “My whole family is in the trade, and I’ve always known it’s where I want to be too. I am studying for my electrotechnical installations qualification, and it has been crucial in helping me to develop all the skills I need to run my own business in the future. The Screwfix Trade Apprentice competition has given me a platform to encourage more people to get into the industry as well as giving my career a real kick start with the extra tools, tech, and training prize.”

The Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2022 competition is open for entries now (7 February 2022 – 20th February 2022). One talented individual will receive a career-boosting prize package worth £10,000. This includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business – £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget, and £2,000 worth of technology. The winner will also get £2,000 for the college where they study.

Apprentices can enter directly or be put forward by their college lecturer or their employer. It is completely free and is open to all apprentices who are in college or working with a mentor. All entrants must be over the age of 16.

Visit Screwfix.com/sfta to find out more and enter.