Achieving a vocational qualification (VQ) can add up to 25% to a construction worker’s salary, according to new research from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The Achievers and Leavers report shows that each VQ level achieved does result in higher pay. The report looks at three related issues – the value of vocational qualifications, the destinations of learners that have gone through Further Education and the reasons for workers leaving the construction sector early.
The report shows that a Level 2 VQ is worth more than £2,200 across 5 years in increased wages, moving up to Level 3 is worth a further £3,500, and gaining a Level 4 £12,600.
When compared with those without formal qualifications, someone with a Level 2 VQ earns 13% more, Level 3 16% more and those with a Level 4 see a 25% boost in earnings on average.
However, the report also shows one out of three learners left the industry after completing an FE course, despite nine out of 10 expecting to remain in the industry when asked six months earlier.
Three out of five learners cited a lack of work experience as the main reason for not securing work in construction. On the employer side, one in three felt new entrants were poorly prepared for working in the sector.
Furthermore, although 88% of those who began work in the industry and then left stated they received careers advice before entering construction, a similar proportion (86%) said they would have benefited from more talks from construction employers at school or college.
For those that stayed in the industry, three quarters said qualifications helped with their career progression. Of those who had been promoted, 73% believed they wouldn’t have been promoted without their qualification.
As well as the increase in employees’ wages, the research showed that nine out of 10 employers had supported their staff in attaining qualifications in the last three years. On top of this, 62% of employers said that investing in training had a significant impact on improving productivity.
Steve Radley, CITB director of policy, said: “It is particularly pleasing to see the clear benefits of VQs to construction employees. Training shouldn’t stop at entry level, and it is fundamentally true that the more you learn the more you can earn.
“However, the research also reveals that as an industry we are struggling to keep a significant proportion of learners in the sector and that they need to receive better careers advice and work experience.
“Industry has already made a start through Go Construct, but we need to build on this and work together to help more potential entrants get a taste of what construction is really like.“