More than three quarters (78%) of UK tradespeople say it is crucial that the industry recruits more apprentices, according to a new survey conducted by roof window manufacturer Dakea.

Almost as many (74%) believe there needs to be more support for apprentices. The survey points out that an estimated one in five UK-born construction workers were aged 55 or older in 2011, so by next year, those people will be near or past retirement age. It adds that the resulting skills gap could be remedied by apprentices.

It also points to other benefits as the world looks to adopt more digital practices in the wake of covid-19. Despite this, only three quarters of the industry admitted they are fully comfortable with using technology compared with 100% of those that have been working in the industry for less than two years.

The survey, based on responses from 500 roofers, installers and local contractors, was undertaken as part of Dakea’s ‘Trade Matters’ campaign. It also identifies the areas where the trade industry needs the most support in order to help the everyday life and businesses of roof window installers in the UK.

Mhairi McDougall, country manager UK and Ireland, said: “The construction industry has been facing a skills gap for years, something that needs remedying to ensure we have enough skilled workers to meet industry demands in the near future.

“Having grown up around technology and social media, apprentices are digital natives making them best placed to help businesses adopt emerging technologies and futureproof businesses. Apprentices can offer a fresh perspective on potentially exhausted working practices and at Dakea, we believe that the more businesses invest in apprentices, the great reward they will see.”

Dakea has created a selection of free guides on hiring and developing apprentices here