What the Budget means for construction
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spending review and autumn budget last week, which included some additional investments and programmes for those looking to start a career in construction.
He promised that total spending on skills and training will increase by £3.8 billion by 2024-25, representing a real term increase of 26%. This includes boosts to apprenticeships, traineeships and T Levels, as well as introducing Skills Bootcamps and further funding for green construction projects.
Keep reading to find out how you could benefit from the announcements.
Launched in August 2020, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 or over and who are either in work, self-employed, recently unemployed or returning to work after a break. They give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.
They are available in regions across the country and include a range of digital courses such as coding, technical training in skills like construction or logistics and green skills like solar energy.
The government has increased the amount of funding provided for the Bootcamps, planning to quadruple the number of places offered.
You can find local placements for the Bootcamps here.
T Levels are new, two-year technical qualifications that are offered in England only. A T Level is equivalent to three A Levels and is designed to provide you with specific skills and industry experience, to make you more employable as you enter the world of work.
T Levels are designed for young people aged 16 – 18 and offer an alternative to apprenticeships and A Levels, providing a combination of practical and theoretical classroom learning.
The Budget has provided further funding for T Levels, supporting additional learning for up to 100,000 T Level students by 2024-25. There’s also extra funding for specialist equipment and facilities for learners to support their education.
Find out how to start a construction T Level here.
Construction apprenticeships are a highly valued route into the industry – offering a mix of on and off-the-job training, as well as a wage and no tuition fees.
The Budget featured a £2.7 billion increase in apprenticeships funding by 2024-25. This means employers will continue to receive incentives from the government and CITB to cover most of the training costs, encouraging more employers to offer apprenticeships. A £3,000 employer incentive for each apprentice hired has been extended until January 2022.
Alongside a 6.6% increase in the minimum wage, apprentices have received a big boost to how much they can earn – increasing by 11.9% from £4.30 to £4.81 per hour, taking effect from April 2022. Apprentices are also entitled to paid holidays, sick pay and pension contributions.
Find out more about construction apprenticeships here.
Traineeships are all about preparing you for the world of work. It’s a short course that offers you a chance to demonstrate your capabilities and enables you to build the skills you need for an apprenticeship or job.
Construction traineeships are a combination of learning and work experience and are a useful route into the industry, where previous work experience is valued, and sometimes essential.
As part of the government’s national skills fund, £550 million has been allocated to increasing the provision of skills and training for young people, including traineeships. This includes paying for an additional 24,000 traineeships per year. The first occupational construction traineeship pilot has begun in bricklaying, with others starting shortly.
Find out more about traineeships here.
The chancellor also announced a number of new investments into green technologies and programmes which will help the construction industry build more sustainability, helping to eventually become net zero.
- A £1.8bn brownfield fund to boost brownfield construction across the country and deliver much-needed housing
- A funding of £9m to assist local authorities in creating 100 new ‘pocket parks’ to regenerate urban spaces
- The offshore wind sector will see £380m investment, to help boost jobs and investment across the UK
- A £3.9 billion fund to aid the decarbonisation of buildings across the UK, with a pledge of a further £1.8 billion to support low-income households to make the net-zero transition
- Additional investments and tax relief for green construction projects.
The construction industry sits at the heart of building a more sustainable world to help tackle climate change. Find out more about sustainability in construction here.