Builders' drive bottoms out

27th August 1999 at 01:00
BADLY needed recruits to the construction industry have been so turned off by the trade's image that it may have to take on workers from abroad.

The industry is promoting apprenticeships in 5,000 schools and colleges in an effort to shake off its bottom-flaunting, wolf-whistling image.

But only 8,000 to 10,000 people have signed up since its launch last August. Around 350,000 skilled workers are needed before 2003, an average of around 70,000 new recruits per year.

Hugh Try, the chairman of the Construction Industry Training Board, which runs the apprenticeships, said: "The industry is crying out for new recruits."

CITB research found construction to be well regarded by only 15 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds, less than a third of those who viewed the motor industry and the media favourably.

Bosses are determined to prove the industry has opportunities for managers, architects and engineers as well as bricklayers and builders.

The launch of an advertising campaign in May targeting women and ethnic minorities has yet to prove fruitful. Only 1.2 per cent of the construction workforce are women, or 10 per cent if office work is included. A report by the University of London's Royal Holloway College found construction had a lower proportion of ethnic workers than any other industry.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today