Applications are up, but more companies need to offer placements. Emma Haslett reports

The latest crop of school leavers and graduates are emerging from education and many are wondering what to do next. As the price of further education rises, an increasing number of young people are turning to apprenticeships (box, below).


In 2011, David Cameron pledged £1.4bn a year for apprenticeship schemes in the UK, and the idea has been adopted with enthusiasm by those who wish to enter the property sector. Christina Hirst, CEO of the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust, says applications have increased from 100 in 2010 to 500 last year, and 1,500 for this year’s programme

Apprenticeships do not just benefit the employee. A report in February by the National Audit Office found for every £1 invested in apprenticeships, £18 goes into the economy. Hirst says employers agree that they can also benefit from the schemes.

“It’s an opportunity to develop young people and mould them into the business. They’re coming fresh to the role. If you’re looking for future chartered surveyors, it makes financial sense,” she says.

Trevor Hughes, project director Berkeley Homes’ Woodberry Park site in east London, employs 13 apprentices through apprenticeship provider Reds10. He says it helps to plug the UK’s skills gap.

“It’s a great way to make better tradesmen. We do have overseas tradesmen, who are very good, but this is another way to get skills levels up.”

However, Hirst says the number of apprenticeships needs to increase, as there are hundreds of applications for just 35 places. She urges employers to consider taking on apprentices.

“It’s a great opportunity for young people.

It creates well-rounded employees with more experience than a degree could ever offer.”

Apprenticeships: how they work

Taking on an apprentice is just like taking on any other employee, says Christina Hirst, CEO of the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust. However, they spend one day a week at college during term time.

The government pays for training, which is arranged through organisations such as the trust, and firms with fewer than 50 employees can obtain a government grant of £1,500.

Provision of remuneration can differ, depending how the apprenticeship is arranged. Employers who take on apprentices through a provider such as the trust are responsible for paying their salaries. However, Berkeley Homes provider Reds10 employs the apprentices itself, and the employer then pays the organisation, rather than the individuals.