Seventy percent of UK homeowners believe that building firms with a turnover of more than £500,000 should be required to take on an apprentice each year, according to recent research conducted by the Travis Perkins Group.

The results have been released just as the Travis Perkins Group and other UK companies prepare to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 3 to 7 March.

The Travis Perkins Group has this year announced that it is recruiting 138 new management apprentices throughout the company, which would bring the total currently working in various functions within the group to almost 300.

The homeowner research was part of a wider survey looking at what consumers who deal with builders and tradesmen think about the industry. Other key findings include:

  • Fifty-five percent believe government should pay for a year’s apprenticeship for young people (aged 19-24) to come into the building trade
  • Forty-eight percent say there should be a special government scheme to help people re-train later in life
  • Sixty-four percent think there should be a special government programme targeted at the long-term unemployed to train them in building skills and get them placed in apprenticeships
  • Fifty-three percent feel government should promote the building trade as a high-skill, high-status profession.

Carol Kavanagh, group human resources director at the Travis Perkins Group, said: “We recognise that skills and training are not only the lifeblood of the industries and trades that we serve, but also of our own company. We believe we have a responsibility to the building industry to put a marker in the ground and support apprenticeships in the trades, as well as to ensure that we nurture the next generation of talent within our own company.

“Our scheme has significant heritage and meaning in the Travis Perkins Group and has provided many generations of excellent managers, including some who developed into very senior roles and also became members of the executive board over the years.

“We are extremely pleased to support National Apprenticeship Week and wholeheartedly endorse all efforts to promote apprentice programmes. This research demonstrates that the consumers who deal with builders and tradesmen still place a great value on the skills and abilities that individual companies can nurture within their teams.

“The results indicate that homeowners want to see building firms – and the government – throwing their weight behind apprenticeships and related programmes to guarantee that the people carrying out works have the skills necessary to do the best job and to professionally thrive.”