What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a job, with training. You are employed and paid an initially lower wage to perform a particular role, with an understanding that you will be trained through experience and qualifications to perform the role to a defined standard. Your employer will give you tasks to perform, and the training provider will give you the skills to perform those tasks.
Further information can be found at A Learners Guide to Apprenticeships.
If you’re looking for an apprenticeship, the first thing you should do is find out which career you are interested in. There are over 100 different apprenticeships in construction ranging from hands-on things like bricklaying, plastering or flooring to more technical, planning, or supervisory roles. If you’re ready to take that journey now, use the Go Construct Careers Explorer to discover roles that might be right for you.
If you want to know more before starting your journey, then we have a range of career profile videos featuring people doing real jobs, giving you clear information about the role and what they enjoy.
Only large building contractors take on apprentices and employees
92% of the industry is made up of small firms, many of which have apprenticeship and employment opportunities.
Lauren MannEstimating Assistant at Beard Construction
Lauren started out in construction doing work experience with Beard in Swindon. She quickly moved onto an apprenticeship and is well on her way to being an estimator with the company. She believes that the skills she's learned will be useful throughout her career: "I feel that I've gained valuable life skills, such as teamwork, and genuine work experience that will give me a better chance of securing future employment in the field that I love."
The work is interesting and the team is really supportive
How to find an employer
Starting an apprenticeship is even easier if you have an employer who wants to take you on. This could be a small or large business, a local firm, a family member or a self-employed person.
If you haven’t got an employer yet, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to find somebody who wants to hire you as an apprentice:
- Search online for vacancies in your area
- Visit your local college, specialist provider or apprenticeship managing agency to register your interest, they may be able to help you find an employer
- Search for local construction companies online and send them a CV and covering letter asking for an apprenticeship
- Ask around – maybe one of your friends, family members or neighbours has an opening at their place of work. You could even pop requests through people's letterboxes on your street
- Keep an eye out for local construction sites or vans, and make a note of the details of the companies. Then, send them your CV and covering letter asking for an apprenticeship
- Check the local jobs pages for opportunities advertised by local employers
When speaking to employers, let them know that, depending on their circumstances, they could receive up to £12,000 in grants from the government or Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for taking you on. This will help them to meet the costs of employing you.
How to get the job – interviews
Always be prepared! Do some research on the company and the job role so you can demonstrate your motivation or interest in them and the job.
Aim to get to the interview 15 minutes early – this will stop you from being late if there is traffic or any other trouble on the way and shows you are taking the interview seriously. Also, if you do get there 15 minutes early you have time to gather your thoughts. Have a practice interview with a friend or family member so that you get used to answering interview questions and have good answers prepared.
Dress to impress – no hoodies, caps or trainers, even if they’re fresh out of the box. Always be polite – ask if you can sit down, say please and thank you and give a firm, confident handshake. Find more information on how to perform well at interviews at the Reed Career Advice, or Careers Wales if you're in Wales.
Did you know...
There are over 246,935 miles of roads in the UK - laid end to end, you could drive to the moon on them all.
How to get through the first day
On your first day with the company, be on time, be enthusiastic, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Only use your phone during lunch and arranged breaks. Your employer will give you an induction and cover all you need to know about healthy and safety, lunch and breaks, the toilets, personal protective equipment (PPE), company rules and regulations and what to do if you are unable to attend work for any reason.
Your wages and payment methods will be agreed directly with your employer before you start your apprenticeship. To check that you are being paid the appropriate wage, see the government set wage brackets.
You can find more guidance on Apprenticeships at:-
Construction apprenticeships only give you limited career potential
Some of the most senior and influential construction workers started out as apprentices. An apprenticeship is a great way to get your foot in the door in the industry and 'earn while you learn'. You can become an apprentice at various different levels, for example after secondary education or after completing a higher degree.