If you'd prefer to learn on the job and earn a salary rather than study for a traditional degree, there are many property and construction apprenticeships to choose from
What property and construction apprenticeships are available?
Apprenticeships are widely available in the property and construction sector. As with all types of apprenticeship, they are offered at four different levels:
- intermediate - level 2, equivalent to GCSE
- advanced - level 3, equivalent to A-level
- higher - levels 4, 5, 6 and 7, equivalent to a foundation degree or above
- degree - levels 6 and 7, equivalent to a Bachelors degree.
Construction apprenticeships can be found in traditional trades such as:
- steel work
- lifting technician
- site supervisor
For more information see GOV.UK - Construction apprenticeships.
In the wider property sector, there are apprenticeships that enable you to start your career in fields such as building services, construction management and project management, as well as in commercial and IT functions with large employers.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has details of apprenticeships in town planning. A new degree apprenticeship in this subject is planned for introduction in September 2018.
You may also be interested in engineering apprenticeships.
Which firms offer apprenticeships?
Many employers in property and construction run apprenticeship programmes at various levels. Here are some examples:
- 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.
- Taylor Wimpey - apprenticeships in on-site trades such as site management, bricklaying and plumbing. After three to five years you'll qualify with a level 2 or level 3 diploma in a construction-related discipline.
This is not an exhaustive list - lots of other companies in the sector have apprenticeship opportunities too. 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 is not guaranteed - check with your employer.
What's involved in a construction apprenticeship?
The content of your property and construction apprenticeship will vary considerably depending on the level it is at and the subject. For example, a bricklaying apprenticeship will obviously be very different to one in town planning or surveying.
A detailed overview of what's involved in a specific apprenticeship can usually be found on the employer's website.
However, what all apprenticeships have in common is that they combine on-the-job training with part-time study. You may attend college or university for one day a week, or your study may be organised into week-long blocks throughout your apprenticeship.
You will be assessed on your performance in both the study and practical aspects of your apprenticeship.
How much will I be paid?
All apprentices are paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which currently stands at £3.50 per hour for apprentices under 19, and those aged over 19 who are in their first year.
If you are 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 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.
For detailed information about how apprenticeships work, pay rates, entry requirements and the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship, see what is an apprenticeship?
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 bConstructive, the website of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
In general, apprenticeships are advertised throughout the year as and when vacancies become available, but be aware that some employers have set application windows for each year's intake.
Another useful resource if you're looking for construction apprenticeships, with tips on finding employers, applications and interviews, is Go Construct - apprenticeships.
For apprenticeships in England, as a minimum you will 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.