Summit call to boost “dismal” apprentice levels

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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Politicians are leading the call for a construction summit to address the “pathetically dismal” level of apprentices entering the industry.

The event would be similar to the 2001 safety summit which sparked dramatic improvements in construction accident rates.

The No More Lost Generations: Creating Construction Jobs for Young People, report was launched today laying bare the scale of the problem.

Nick Raynsford MP, joint chairman of the group behind the report, said: “Construction apprenticeships have plummeted in the past few years.

“For 2013 the number completing their construction apprenticeship in England fell to 7,280, just half the figure for 2008/09.  They are pathetically dismal figures.”

Lord Richard Best, fellow joint-chairman, said: “A concerted effort is needed, led by the major firms and by those who procure construction contracts, to ensure young people brought up in the UK can take advantage of the growing number of jobs in construction.

“Without sufficient skilled home grown staff, employers are once again looking to import labour from other countries – particularly from Eastern Europe.

“This is not in the longer term interests of either the industry or the country.”

Raynsford added: “There are nearly one million young people not in education, employment and training.

“We cannot tolerate this continuing mass unemployment when there is such scope for increasing training, apprenticeships and employment in our construction industry.”

Key recommendations of the report are:

For the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to  convene a high-level summit with contractors, specialist contractors, house-builders, local authorities and social landlords to get momentum behind Construction Jobs for Young People. This echoes a similar summit for industry leaders back in 2001 on the theme of safety: by raising the profile of that issue, huge progress has been made on construction sites to reduce significantly fatalities and accidents.

For the CITB to spearhead a new apprenticeship strategy to ensure that training programmes are better linked to the nature of the jobs and reduce the drop-out rate from apprenticeships and other training courses.

For public bodies and social landlords to use the levers available through public-sector procurement and the planning system to require realistic and effective training and employment commitments from employers.

For the sector to improve an understanding in schools of the exciting and varied opportunities for those who want a career in construction and make it easier for young people to find an appropriate route into the industry, whether through apprenticeships or degree-level qualifications, through the creation of a new careers portal.

 

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