Consumers prefer to hire firms that train apprentices, according to new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) that coincides with National Apprenticeship Week.

This new research, based on responses from 2,000 home owners across the UK, reveals that:

  • Almost two thirds of homeowners would have a more favourable image of a building firm knowing they train apprentices

  • Half of homeowners would be more likely to actually hire a building firm knowing they train apprentices (all else being equal)

  • More than two in five would be more likely to recommend a building firm to a friend or family member based on the fact they train apprentices

  • Almost two-thirds of homeowners think that building firms should highlight the fact that they are training the next generation of tradespeople in their marketing material.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: "This new research confirms what many of us already knew – apprentices are good for your business. The building industry is extremely competitive and these results suggest that training an apprentice will help a firm stand out from the crowd. Homeowners aren't just concerned about the craftsmanship of their builder, they want to know they are hiring a firm with strong values. It therefore makes sense that a business that invests in young people is seen in a better light. If the burgeoning skills crisis in the construction industry wasn't enough to motivate those firms not already training to start doing so, hopefully this evidence will do the trick. It's helpful to know that apprenticeship training can not only provide rewarding career opportunities for young people, but it can also help a firm’s bottom line."

Mr Berry concluded: "Next month will see the introduction of the government's new Apprenticeship Levy on large firms, so this year could see a big shift in terms of who is directly involved in apprenticeship training. In construction, two-thirds of all apprentices are trained by SMEs and it is our hope that the new Levy will encourage the larger firms to also engage more readily in training the future workforce. What's great about this research is that it demonstrates the positive image that a real focus on quality training can bring to a company from a commercial perspective – no doubt this applies across the business community and not just in the construction sector."