From plumbing to bricklaying, and town planning to project management, completing a construction apprenticeship gives you the necessary practical skills to enter this hands-on sector
What property and construction apprenticeships are available?
Apprenticeships are widely available in construction. As with all types of apprenticeship, they're offered at four different levels:
- Intermediate - Level 2, equivalent to GCSE
- Advanced - Level 3, equivalent to A-leve
- Higher - Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7, equivalent to a foundation degree or above
- Degree - Levels 6 and 7, equivalent to a Bachelors and Masters respectively.
Construction apprenticeships can be found in traditional trades such as:
- lifting technician
- site supervisor
- steel work
In the property sector, you can start your career with building apprenticeships, construction management apprenticeships and property management apprenticeships, as well as in commercial and IT functions with larger employers.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) offers two apprenticeship pathways - the Level 3 Diploma in Town Planning Technical Support and the Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship at Levels 4 to 7.
You may also be interested in engineering apprenticeships.
Which construction companies offer apprenticeships?
Many employers in property and construction run apprenticeship programmes at various levels. For example:
- Amey - apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher/degree level. The higher and degree-level programmes are available in areas such as civil and construction engineering, environmental and civil engineering, and rail design.
- Arup - advanced and higher apprenticeships in building services, civil engineering, quantity surveying, rail design, transport planning and more.
- Balfour Beatty - apprenticeships in areas such as engineering, quantity surveying, highways maintenance and construction management at intermediate, advanced and higher level.
- Countryside Properties - a trainee management apprenticeship scheme providing the skills required for a career in construction management, surveying or technical project management, with a starting salary of £18,000 per year.
- JLL - apprenticeships in surveying, made available in partnership with the University College of Estate Management (UCEM).
- Mott Macdonald - advanced and degree apprenticeships in fields such as civil engineering, transport planning, building services engineering, quantity surveying and infrastructure technology.
- Redrow - trade apprenticeships, office apprenticeships, technical apprenticeships and commercial apprenticeships.
- Savills - five-year property apprenticeships for future leaders, leading to a foundation degree and then an undergraduate degree. You'll spend four days a week in the office and one at university, with your course fees paid by Savills. The starting salary is £15,000 per year.
- Skanska - on a Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship, you'll spend 80% of your time on the job and 20% in education. Roles include civil engineer, mechanical and electrical engineer, and operations positions such as street lighting and plumbing.
This is not an exhaustive list - lots of other companies in the sector have apprenticeship opportunities. See the overview of the property and construction industry for other relevant employers.
Who are they aimed at?
Apprenticeships are traditionally aimed at school leavers, and are an increasingly viable alternative to university, particularly with the introduction of degree apprenticeships. The level of each apprenticeship will determine who can apply.
Intermediate and advanced apprenticeships at Level 2 and 3 are for those leaving school with GCSEs. You'll usually need good grades in English and maths.
Higher and degree apprenticeships at Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 are geared towards those with A-levels or those who have already completed an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship.
In many cases, successful completion of an apprenticeship will lead to a permanent job offer with the same company, although this isn't guaranteed - always check with your employer.
What's involved in a construction apprenticeship?
The content of your construction apprenticeship will vary considerably depending on its level and subject.
For example, on the Levels 2 and 3 bricklaying apprenticeship offered by the Leeds College of Building, apprentices develop skills including how to use bricklaying tools, build simple brick/block walls and use modern construction methods such as timber frame cladding. Meanwhile, on the Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship offered by the RTPI, apprentices spend three to six years developing knowledge in areas relating to planning law, policy and sustainability, and skills including the preparation of plans, policies and related documents, creative vision and design and project management.
A detailed overview of what's involved in a specific apprenticeship can typically be found on the employer's website.
For more general information on apprenticeships, see What is an apprenticeship?
How much will I be paid?
All apprentices are paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which currently stands at £3.90 per hour for apprentices under 19, and those aged over 19 who are in their first year.
If you're over 19 and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you must be paid the minimum wage rate for your age. To check that you're being paid enough see the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator for workers.
As an apprentice you'll be paid for your normal working hours, as well as for any training that is part of your scheme. You're entitled to 20 days paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays. Salaries are determined by individual employers.
How do I apply?
You can find details of how and when to apply for apprenticeships on employers' websites. Alternatively, search for opportunities at GOV.UK - Find an apprenticeship and select the 'construction, planning and the built environment' filter.
Construction apprenticeships are also listed, along with more general information about the qualification and your career options, on the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) website.
Often apprenticeships are advertised throughout the year as and when vacancies become available, but be aware that some employers set application windows for each year's intake.
Another useful resource if you're looking for construction apprenticeships is Go Construct - Apprenticeships, which has tips on finding employers, submitting applications and preparing for interviews.
For apprenticeships in England, as a minimum you'll need to be 16 or over, eligible to work in England and not in full-time education. The application process typically consists of completing an online form and then attending an interview.