Cost and red tape prevent tradespeople hiring apprentices

  • Two thirds of tradespeople turning down work as they are so busy
  • Affordability concerns are the top reason stopping tradespeople hiring apprentices
  • Trade apprentices avoid costs associated with university and benefit from earning whilst they learn


Tradespeople are missing out on growth opportunities from hiring an apprentice because of perceived costs and red tape, new research from Screwfix has revealed.

Despite two thirds (66%) of builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople turning down work because they are too busy, just 5% of those surveyed, currently hire an apprentice. Half of those said having an extra pair of hands has helped them take on additional work.   

Research has found that the top reasons for not employing an apprentice were due to cost (33%), too much red tape (24%) and concerns about finding the right person to work with the team (17%).

John Mewett, CEO of Screwfix, commented: “These results show there is much more to do to help tradespeople overcome perceived challenges to hiring an apprentice. 

“We know from our customers, that having an apprentice on site can be a real opportunity and support business growth. It allows tradespeople to take on more work while investing in the future generation, who will hopefully go on to become long-term employees. What’s more, apprentices can earn while they learn and avoid costs associated with university, it’s a great way to start a fulfilling career. Without opportunities for apprentices we will face a potential skills gap in the UK.

“As a company, we’re dedicated to supporting both the future generation and the seasoned professionals. It’s for this reason, we’ve just launched our sixth annual Screwfix Trade Apprentice competition, where we are on the lookout to crown an apprentice who is going above and beyond the call of duty and will be lucky enough to walk away with a career boosting trade bundle, worth £10,000.

“It’s important that we not only shine a light on the benefits of apprenticeships, but also the strength and depth of apprentice talent out there.”

Screwfix Trade Apprentice is a national competition open to trade apprentices. The top entries from across the UK will be invited to an exclusive final at Global Radio HQ, where one outstanding individual will be crowned Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2020.

Up for grabs at the final is a career boosting prize package worth £10,000. This includes everything a future tradesperson may need to kick-start their career – £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The winner will also get £2,000 for the college where they study. In addition to all of this, the Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2020 will be invited to meet a team of experts behind Capital XTRA’s Homegrown Live, at the event this spring.

All finalists will also be invited to attend a Business start-up day at the Global Academy, a University Technical College specialising in the fast paced and exciting broadcast and digital media industry. They will learn how to market themselves, promote their business through social media from media industry professionals and will also meet Capital XTRA’s Robert Bruce.

Entries are open between 3 February – 1 March 2020. To find out more, visit