The number of Scottish construction companies recruiting apprentices is expected to increase by 9% over the next 12 months, according to the latest Scottish Construction Monitor - a quarterly survey of the membership of the Scottish Building Federation.

“It’s great to see industry confidence continuing to rise and, with that, an increasing number of companies that are looking to take on apprentices over the coming year,” said Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation.

“At the same time, an overwhelming majority of employers are concerned that we aren’t taking on enough apprentices to meet current demands or future expectations. Tellingly, the most commonly cited reason for not recruiting more apprentices is a perceived shortage of suitable candidates.

“We need to see action at secondary and even primary school level to encourage more young people to think seriously about a career in construction and make that a truly aspirational option for them. We need to get the message across that there are exciting and rewarding long-term career opportunities in the construction industry, and an apprenticeship is one of the best ways of pursuing that goal.”

The publication of the latest Scottish Construction Monitor coincided with Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014, which ran from 19 to 23 May. During this week, a new joint SBATC / CSCS Card for apprentices entering the construction industry was announced.

The Scottish Building Apprenticeship & Training Council (SBATC) is the body responsible for registering construction apprentices in Scotland, as well as regulating apprentice qualifications and setting terms and conditions of employment. The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is a certification scheme for the construction industry which provides proof that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications.

The new card to be issued to all apprentices registered within the industry will help ensure they receive appropriate health and safety training at college from the outset of their apprenticeship. It should also help to reduce the administrative burden of certification for employers, while making it easier for companies employing apprentices to access public contract opportunities.