Construction is the most popular sector for school leavers, according to the surprising findings of a soon-to-be published government report.
Of the 79,874 pupils who left school last year, 10,402 went into skilled construction, the Destinations 2005 report by Connexions will reveal.
The figures from Connexions, which is sponsored by the Department for Education and Skills and regionally monitors the chosen professions of over-16s, show that construction attracted 13% of all school leavers in England last year.
The results, revealed today by Personnel Today’s sister title Contract Journal, seem to fly in the face of received wisdom that young people are put off joining construction because it has reputation for long hours, poor health and safety and muddy building sites.
Construction now far outweighs what would be regarded as the more appealing trades to school leavers, such as sales (9.3%), hairdressing and beauty (8.3%), clerical and secretarial (6.2%), catering (4.3%) and professional (2%).
Paul Sykes, spokesman for CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “[This] is good news. Year on year we have seen an increase in apprenticeship starters and the news from this report seems to suggest that an increase in new recruits, particularly in the 16- to 19-year-old group, is a step forward in ensuring we are meeting demand for an expanding industry.
“These figures are encouraging, but we still have plenty of work cut out for us. We need to encourage more youngsters that construction does offer so much more than people think.”