A quarter of UK plumbers are looking to hire apprentices this year

New research from IronmongeryDirect has found that almost a quarter (23%) of UK plumbers and plumbing companies are looking to hire apprentices in 2021.

More than one in four say that apprenticeships are more important than ever, but many struggle hiring for various reasons. Furthermore, the researched found that plumbing is the most likely trade in the UK where employers struggle to find apprentices.

Recruitment has also been hit by the pandemic, with one in seven UK plumbers saying they hired fewer apprentices in 2020 than in previous years.

A third of companies and tradespeople who regularly hire apprentices feel that the programme has been made harder due to the pandemic, as new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show a 30% drop in new construction apprentices between August and October 2020, compared to the same period the previous year.

Demonstrating the effect of COVID 19 on the scheme, more than one in five companies that usually hire apprentices took on fewer in 2020, despite a fifth of tradespeople believing that the program is more important now than ever.

The study also revealed that one in 12 tradespeople believe that the government has not done enough to support apprentices throughout the pandemic.

Commenting on the research, Marco Verdonkschot, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “It’s great to see many tradespeople and companies are still looking to make use of the apprenticeship program, despite the difficulty of the past year.  

“We think the apprenticeship scheme is an amazing way to help shape the next generation of tradespeople. That’s why we’ve launched a competition for a UK-based tradesperson or company to win £5,000 towards funding an apprentice.

“There are so many people who do amazing work in the industry today who started out as apprentices, so it’s important that the program continues to be well-funded. More needs to be done to support apprentices throughout this pandemic to ensure that we continue to have great talent in the future.”

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