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Cost of Living Crisis Sparks Young People to Re-evaluate their Career Choice with Soaring Uptake in Apprenticeships


Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (6th-12th February 2023), new research from premium housebuilder Redrow reveals that more than a quarter (27%) of young adults (16 to 24) in the UK are re-evaluating their finances and career choices because of the cost-of-living crisis, prioritising apprenticeships over higher education.

The survey of 1,000 young adults found that two in five (45%) say the rise in the cost of living has made them want to earn more money in the future, and more than half (54%) think they will earn more than their parents in their lifetime.

Almost half (47%) of those aged 16 to 24 view apprenticeships as opportunities to earn by not incurring student debt, 38% associate them with offering greater financial independence at an earlier age and 30% appreciate having more mentoring and coaching opportunities on the job.

18 year old Ellie Gunney is following in her Mum and sister’s footsteps having joined Redrow’s Cardiff team as an Administration Co-ordinator.

A talented football player, Ellie completed her A levels at St David’s College in Cardiff in June 2022 then took the decision to join Mum Emma and sister Molly at Redrow rather than go to university. Emma first joined Redrow in 2003 and is now Customer Services Manager. Her eldest daughter Molly joined Redrow as an apprentice in 2021 and is now a Sales Consultant.

Ellie said:

“I know that I’m really lucky to be given the opportunity to learn while I earn. Mum and Dad have encouraged both Molly and I to have a strong work ethic and I’m keen to progress so I’m enjoying learning new skills and being part of the Redrow team.”

Perception Gaps

Although apprenticeships are growing in popularity amongst young people, it seems some perceptions are not so encouraging. Two in three (68%) believe that there is a general stigma associated with being an apprentice rather than pursuing higher education.

When asked about the advice they’ve been given, half (49%) of young people surveyed agreed their school hadn’t encouraged apprenticeship routes and two in five (41%) were not told anything about apprenticeships – the highest level since 2017. This is compared to three quarters (72%) who agreed that going to university was more encouraged at school.

However, perceptions may be shifting, especially amongst the older generation as nearly two thirds (63%) of parents with 16- to 21-year-old children agree that encouraging their children to undertake an apprenticeship allows them to earn money while studying and not incurring student debt.

Building A Career

When looking at different industries, two in three young adults believe careers in construction are often overlooked with only a quarter (24%) of young people considering one. When asked what would make the industry more attractive, 60% of young people said long term career opportunities and seeing the impact of their work in real life.

16–24-year-olds believe they’re already getting a head start on their skill set, with 45% saying time spent playing video games such as Minecraft and The Sims enhances the necessary transferable skills for real world jobs like construction.

Karen Jones, HR Director for Redrow said,

“Many young people are reconsidering their career options amidst the cost-of-living crisis and apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to earn while you learn. Breaking the stigma and offering more information for schools and parents to promote the benefits amongst young people will help promote the skills for life. Redrow will once again be hiring a wide range of apprentices this year – we encourage anyone who is interested and looking for a rewarding start to their career to apply.”

This National Apprenticeship Week Redrow is encouraging more young people to consider a career in construction with nationwide trade positions being released this February.  To find out more, please visit:


Redrow is a leading UK premium housebuilder, proudly headquartered in Ewloe, Flintshire.

Established in 1974, it has earned a unique reputation for quality, building beautiful homes and communities, creating, in its words, a better way to live. It delivers for both investors and the wider community by centring all its activities around its three values of creating thriving communities by building responsibly and valuing people, all while engaging with colleagues and stakeholders.

Redrow is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For the year to 27th June 2021, Redrow built more than 5,500 premium new homes across England and Wales and the Group reported revenue of £1.9bn.

Redrow directly employs well over 300 people across Wales, 15% of whom are trainees, graduates or apprentices, at its headquarters, regional offices and developments.

It takes responsibility seriously: last year, Redrow achieved the Global Good Company of the Year Silver award in recognition of its social impact and launched its ‘Nature for People’ biodiversity strategy, established as part of a long-standing partnership with the Wildlife Trusts. In June 2021, Redrow was included in the FT’s inaugural listing of Europe’s Climate Leaders for achieving significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions between 2014 and 2019.

Over the past year, Redrow has consistently been rated as ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot and once again achieved the Five Star Customer Satisfaction award from the Home Builders’ Federation (HBF). The company is also one of just eight UK construction companies to be named a Diversity Leader in the Financial Times’ inaugural list of European leaders for workplace diversity and inclusion.

Visit to find out more.


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