The Welsh Government and universities in Wales have launched new degree apprenticeships in the construction industry.

Partnering up with Wrexham University, the University of South Wales, and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the government is funding a series of four-year programmes in key areas of construction.

The timing is strategic as the construction sector is projected to need an additional 11,000 workers by 2028.

The apprentice programmes include Construction Management, Civil Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, and Real Estate.

From September 2024, students will have the opportunity to earn their degree while gaining hands-on professional experience.

Jeremy Miles, cabinet secretary for the economy, energy, and Welsh language, endorsed the initiative, stating: "These programmes not only prepare individuals for high-demand jobs and higher wage occupations, but will also ensure a skilled, resilient and forward-looking workforce to drive economic growth and provide innovative solutions to social and climate challenges."

One of the benefactors of the new programmes, assistant quantity surveyor at Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd, Jac Beynon, highlighted his motivation for signing up: "As I finished my A-Levels in school I was exploring my options as to what to do next.

"I thought about going to university full-time, but I didn’t like the idea of waiting three or four years before starting work.

"So when someone mentioned an apprenticeship scheme which would allow me to work and learn at the same time - I was sold."

The introduction of these apprenticeships is seen as a shared victory by both universities and the construction sector as it addresses current and forthcoming industry challenges.

Gareth Williams, standards and qualifications manager (Wales) for the Construction Industry Training Board, commented: "People wanting to work in construction need clear career pathways into the industry and these new construction degree apprenticeships are a significant milestone towards achieving this.

"The launch of these apprenticeships also demonstrates a sector pulling together in a shared direction to overcome industry and broader challenges."

On the university front, representatives expressed enthusiasm for their ability to meet the needs of both learners and employers through the offering of these courses.

Louise Pennell, associate dean of partnerships and development in University of South Wales’ Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and Science, said: "At USW we have extensive expertise in running these study routes.

"These new degree apprenticeships will create new opportunities for individuals and companies operating in the construction industry, and further cement our reputation as an institution which is leading the way in producing job-ready graduates with the skills needed to thrive in crucial sectors."

The construction management and quantity surveying courses will be offered by all three universities, the civil engineering and building surveying courses will be offered by Wrexham University and University of South Wales, whilst the real estate course will be offered by the University of South Wales.