Industry Report: Civil Engineering and Built Environment Apprenticeships

Posted on 08 February 2023

​Whilst the UK currently faces another economic recession, the civil engineering and built environment sectors continue to drive forward new projects across the UK. Demand for skilled workers across all major UK sectors grows by the week, with the labour shortages causing 75% of contractors unable to fill teams across major infrastructure projects.

To meet this demand, companies in the civil engineering and built environment sectors need to work hard to attract new talent into the industry to ensure a strong talent pipeline for years to come.


Apprenticeships offer several advantages and solutions to the issues our industries currently face. Firstly, apprentices bring fresh ideas and energy to the workplace, and can bring a new perspective to established processes and systems. Secondly, apprenticeships provide a cost-effective way of training and developing the next generation of skilled workers, reducing the need to hire from outside the company.


For engineering apprenticeships, there has been a significant drop of 34%. It is estimated that 93,000 Level 3+ Engineers will be entering the workforce in the next 10 years. Only 50% of the needed 186,000 engineers. On the other side of this, there has been an increase of 30% more jobs being advertised year-on-year across civil engineering, construction, infrastructure, and rail. The imbalance the skills shortage has created is now affecting over 85% of companies across the UK.


Apprenticeships in civil engineering typically last between two and four years and combine on-the-job training with formal classroom learning. During this time, apprentices work alongside experienced engineers, gaining practical experience and knowledge of the industry. They also attend college or university to gain a deeper understanding of the theoretical and technical aspects of civil engineering.


The benefits of apprenticeships for apprentices themselves are clear. They gain hands-on experience in their chosen field, as well as a nationally recognized qualification. They also receive a salary, which increases as their skills and knowledge grow. Apprenticeships provide a pathway to a rewarding and challenging career, with many former apprentices going on to become successful engineers, managers, and leaders in the industry.


For company leaders, HR and talent acquisition the benefits of offering apprenticeships include:


  • Offering apprenticeships allows businesses to draw in young talent who are passionate about their industry and ready to learn and advance their abilities.

  • Creating a pipeline for future talent: Apprenticeships give young people a route to becoming the skilled workers of tomorrow and future managers and leaders.

  • Enhancing diversity and inclusion: Since apprenticeships offer a path into the sector for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, they can help in attracting a more diverse pool of applicants.

  • Enhancing employee engagement and retention: Since apprentices experience a sense of value and support for their growth, apprenticeships can help to increase employee engagement and retention.


Apprenticeships are a valuable investment for civil engineering and built environment leaders, providing a pathway for attracting and developing the next generation of skilled workers. By offering apprenticeships, companies can ensure that they have the talent they need to meet the demands of the construction and engineering sector.


HSQ Recruitment have worked hard with several large organisations on their labour talent plans for the next few years, ensuring the number of personnel needed for several projects is readily available for start. Our expert teams are always on hand to provide expert advice on how to improve your staff retention and attraction, and can work with you on multiple strategies to ensure your business has a strong pipeline of talent.

Share this article