THE number of young people starting a building apprenticeship in Darlington has risen by sixteen per cent in five years according to the latest figures, prompting hope for both the skills gap and future of the construction industry locally.

Portable and temporary building specialists Elliott analysed government apprenticeship figures since 2014/15 across the UK to understand participation trends, the future impact it could have on the local construction sector and potential decline in women entering the industry.

In Darlington, Construction, Planning and Built Environment apprenticeships starts have risen by 16 per cent since 2015.

By 2021, the Chartered Institute of Building say the industry will need over 150,000 new workers to keep up with the Government’s pledge to build more than 300,000 new homes.

With current construction workforces fast approaching retirement, only 1 per cent of the UK’s construction employees are under 20-years-old and 16 per cent are over 60. In Darlington, three per cent are over 60.

Elliott’s UK resourcing manager, Amanda Luciano, said: “The recruitment of construction apprentices is a serious issue that could have a detrimental impact on the local economy and construction sector for many years to come.

“It’s great to see an increase in the number of apprentices starting in Darlington, and rewarding to see an upturn in the number of women wanting to enter the building industry. We hope our findings point towards further improvement in Darlington, and the town can benefit in the future from a local talent pool of highly skilled apprentices.”