Apprenticeships are increasingly being seen as a way of future-proofing the Island’s construction workforce. 85% of students currently studying construction related courses at University College Isle of Man (UCM), are on an apprenticeship scheme.
Alan Clague, President of the Construction Federation said, “I believe that apprenticeship schemes are the key to success for the construction sector on the Island, as they not only set high standards for the workforce, they also provide an effective succession path for the sector.
Commenting about concerns related to the declining numbers of the Island’s skilled workforce, Alan continued, “We have been predicting a skills shortage in all trade areas and technical professions, such as architects, quantity surveyors and engineers. This means that the sector offers so many career opportunities.”
This year, almost 300 students at UCM are studying a construction related course and the recent enrolment numbers have risen a tremendous 42% compared to last year. “It is positive to see so many young people realising the gains of working in construction,” Alan added.
Corelli Bentham, Head of the Construction Programme Area at UCM said that she is pleased with the student numbers, but still feels that there is so much that needs to be done to alter the public’s perception of the sector.
She commented that construction has always been viewed as a secondary sector and that occupations in construction have long suffered from misleading stereotyping and inaccurate assumptions, such as it being dangerous, physically demanding and that it does not pay well.
“The fact is, the construction sector is the backbone of the Isle of Man’s economy, because without roads, houses, schools or offices other sectors cannot exist or flourish. The jobs in construction are diverse and offer rewarding opportunities for those who want to help build the world around them,” Corelli explained.
Jake Lindon, a UCM student who is currently working part-time at Stewart Clague Services enrolled on the Multi Skills course at UCM in September. Through this course, he is given the opportunity to try out six different trades within construction.
“I am really enjoying the course as it gives me a chance to try out different jobs from plumbing, brickwork, painting & decorating to electrical installation, carpentry & joinery and horticulture. These trades challenge me in different ways and out of all of them I like electrical trade the most as it suits me best.”
Jake added, “I’m finding that I can directly apply the knowledge and skills that I am learning at UCM at work, which is really satisfying.”
UCM’s robust links with the construction industry ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and aptitude to compete in the job market. Collaboration with the sector also means that employers are aware of the newly qualified tradespeople graduating from UCM, which has an extremely positive impact on its students’ employment prospects.
For more information about courses in construction or apprenticeship schemes, please call UCM on 01624 648200 or visit www.ucm.ac.im