Housing minister Brandon Lewis has urged youngsters to pursue a career in construction, saying the sector represented a “great opportunity to carve out a successful and well-paid career”.
Mr Lewis said: “For the last five years, our efforts have got Britain building. This means thousands of jobs are now up for grabs – roles that offer a great opportunity to build a successful and well-paid career.”
The minister was speaking as he welcomed the first apprentices to the Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy at Derby College.
He hailed the academy as “a fantastic example of how a new generation of talented, ambitious, highly skilled bricklayers can be inspired and developed – nurturing our homegrown talent and building the homes we need for years to come”.
The government has pledged to boost the number of apprentices across the construction industry.
It has claimed that more than 15,500 new construction apprenticeships started last year, representing a 14 per cent increase on the previous year.
However, as Construction News reported in January, construction apprenticeship completions in England fell for the fifth straight year in 2013/14, with just over 8,000 apprentices finishing courses.
The government hopes that a commitment to increasing housebuilding will also see a surge in apprenticeships.
Its long-term economic plan includes a pledge to build 275,000 new affordable homes during the course of this parliament.