Apprenticeships are practical work-based schemes, developed by the construction industry to help achieve a skilled and qualified workforce.

They lead to respected qualifications – National Vocational Qualifications/Scottish Vocational Qualifications – that prove that the standard of work expected in the industry has been met.

Apprenticeships allow a young person to learn, work, earn and get qualified, all at the same time. Every year over 10,000 young people join the Construction Apprenticeship Scheme (CAS).

Apprenticeship schemes vary by country, although the principles remain the same:

England & Wales
There are two levels of apprenticeship: Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeship. Both lead to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), Key Skills qualifications and Technical Certificates.

The Scottish Building Apprenticeship Training Council Scheme provides young people with a commitment to employment and training over a four year period. There are 2 levels of apprenticeship depending on trade. Apprenticeship leads to SVQ Level 2 and Modern Apprenticeship leads to Level 3.

Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland there are three tiers of apprenticeship training:

  • Access Training – NVQ Level 1
  • Traineeships – NVQ Level 2
  • Apprenticeships – NVQ Level 3

An apprentice will train towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/ Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in their chosen occupation. These are nationally recognised, competence based qualifications that prove standards of work expected in industry have been met.

Training is undertaken both at college/training centre and on site. There are two parts to gaining an NVQ/SVQ: college training and assessment and work-based evidence gained on site. Use the dropdown menu for more information on apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships allow you to learn, work, earn and get qualified all at the same time. It’s a simple step-by-step process that ConstructionSkills can guide you through. At the end of it you’ll be trained and qualified with a promising future in an exciting industry.

For details of apprenticeship availability for your chosen trade please call your local CITB-ConstructionSkills office.

These pages will help you understand the stages you must go through to get onto a ConstructionSkills Apprenticeship in the construction industry. Each stage is important, as it will make sure that you get the right training and support in the future.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) / Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) focus on your work on-site rather than what you learn in the classroom.
They are the standard that the industry is working towards and they form the basis of apprenticeships, CSCS and its affiliated cards.
NVQs are available in England and Wales. SVQs are the preferred system in Scotland.
To find out more about NVQs/SVQs and the Awarding bodies use the options on the right.

You can attend a Further Education College or University to study, either part or full-time, in a range of areas related to construction and the built environment:

  • Construction Awards (Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced) are qualifications for craft occupations – they do not require any proof of site based work.
  • First Diploma – a full-time qualification which gives background knowledge to various jobs allowing you to keep your options open for continuing education or entry into craft or technical employment.
  • Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Level (AVCE) – an alternative to traditional A Levels, where you study the general aspects of Construction and the Built Environment.
  • National Certificate/Diploma (NC/ND); Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/HND) – You could start studying your NC at 16 and progress to the HNC or HND.
  • Alternatively, if you have A Levels or Scottish Highers you could start at 18 on the HNC or HND.
  • Foundation Degree – Providing a mix of vocational and academic learning, this is a good starting point if you want to move to a technical, supervisory and management job.
  • Degrees – These allow you to develop in an area of your choice – for example, Architecture, Construction Management, Civil Engineering. You will usually study for three years or longer via full-time, part-time or sandwich study.
  • Professional qualifications – Many professional institutions have professional qualifications as a route to professional membership for their specialism e.g. engineering, building or architecture.
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