This year’s National Apprenticeship Week theme is ‘Blaze a trail’, highlighting the benefits apprenticeships can bring to employers, individuals, local communities and the economy. Here, Jan Atkinson, Talent and Organisational Development Director at Kier, explains how Kier is harnessing the opportunities apprenticeships provide to support both a new generation of skilled workers into the industry as well as those who have already embarked on their career journey.

“This year’s National Apprenticeship Week is particularly timely for the built environment, given that the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) warned just last week that the sector needs to act fast to address the widening skills gap[1].  With approximately 168,500 construction jobs anticipated to be created in the next five years[2] we can all use this week to blaze a trail and show what an amazing industry this is.

We face the dual challenge of encouraging more people, from more diverse backgrounds to join the industry and then retaining them by supporting their continued skills development and career aspirations.  Apprenticeships have a big role to play in this.

No matter what stage of their employment journey they have reached, upskilling through an apprenticeship can be a positive option to explore. Employers need to be open minded to the opportunity’s apprenticeships bring, actively engage in developing the apprenticeship offer and encourage their workforce to consider this as a genuine route to learning and progression.  

Apprenticeships can open up employment to a range of people from diverse backgrounds. We see genuine business benefits in fostering diversity. Diverse teams make decisions 60% faster[3]  and a diversity of backgrounds and ideas encourages creativity & fosters innovation[4]. At Kier, we’re committed to building a balanced business, creating a workplace where our people can bring their whole selves to work and thrive.

Offering structured pathways into work at a variety of entry levels and with real progression opportunity builds engaged, skilled internal talent to drive future business growth.   We continually develop new programmes that reflect the changing skillset needed for our business and we’re at the forefront of employer trailblazers to extend the apprenticeships offer to meet the needs of the industry and last year, we introduced our award-winning digital construction apprenticeship.  

This National Apprenticeship Week let’s all be trailblazer’s and welcome a new generation of apprenticeships.”

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Kier has launched its brand-new KickStart Bursary. To find out more about this, visit: