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Radio Release

22nd August 2007

Thousands of apprentices 'can't find placements'

With thousands of would-be apprentices still struggling to find employers ConstructionSkills is urging the construction industry to take on apprentices or risk being unable to deliver on the significant growth forecast, particularly the Government’s recent commitment to increasing house building announced in its Green Paper.

Last week Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, stressed the importance of employers taking on and increasing the number of construction apprentices in order to provide enough skilled workers to meet the government’s housing targets. This follows the Government’s announcement earlier this year that by 2013 they want more young people continuing in post-16 training and education.

In addition, the Government has backed Lord Leitch’s recommendations for improving UK skills, including a target of 500,000 people on apprenticeships across all sectors by 2020. There are currently only 250,000 apprentices working in all sectors.

In England there are more than 7000 young people who have passed the ConstructionSkills selection test, which ensures they have an aptitude for the industry, but so far only half of these have been placed with employers leaving a further 3000 or so would-be apprentices still struggling to find employers to take them on. ConstructionSkills is now calling on companies of all sizes to recognise construction apprentices as a vital resource, and to commit to helping young people enter the industry.

To help employers to take on an apprentice and meet these targets ConstructionSkills provides employers with financial support towards Traditional Apprenticeships of up to £9,400 and for the alternative Programme-Led Apprenticeships direct funding of £2,000, with an additional £1,000 payment for one year only while this new route is established.

Director of ConstructionSkills Apprenticeships, Max Hamps, said:

“Apprentices are not only essential to the future of the construction industry but to the future of the UK economy. They can also be an invaluable asset to any company. By offering a flexible resource that can help your business grow, an apprentice could be the best investment your business ever makes.

“ConstructionSkills helps take the hassle out of recruiting an apprentice, offering ongoing advisory and significant financial support to your business. Our commitment is to finding the right apprentice to suit each construction business and with a 70% completion rate, this is borne out by our apprentices, and through the many success stories we hear every day.”

ConstructionSkills is the Sector Skills Council working to deliver a safe, professional and fully qualified construction workforce. The call for apprenticeship places is part of a wider campaign to bring more high calibre young people into the industry.

For more information, please visit www.cskills.org/apprenticeships or contact your local ConstructionSkills office.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

These figures have been released by ConstructionSkills and are based on ficures as at 20th August 2007.

About ConstructionSkills

ConstructionSkills is the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry. It is UK-wide and represents the whole industry from professional consultancies to major contractors and SMEs. Established as a Sector Skills Council in 2003, ConstructionSkills is working to deliver a safe, professional and fully qualified construction workforce.

ConstructionSkills is a partnership between CIC, CITB NI and CITB-ConstructionSkills. All three partners are committed to working together to deliver industry-led skills and training solutions through the Sector Skills Agreement for construction. We work to negotiate the best partnership and funding deals for the construction industry to help raise standards and we develop the skills products and services employers need.

The construction sector is central to the UK economy, generating almost 9% of UK GDP and with a turnover of more than £203bn a year. It employs 2.5 million people and requires a further 87,600 new entrants per year to 2011, as forecast by our Construction Skills Network.

The following number among the many products and services ConstructionSkills offers to customers:

  • Inspire Scholarships, a placement and funding scheme designed to attract the brightest and best undergraduates to construction-related degree courses
  • The National Skills Academy for Construction aims to overcome the challenges of training a fragmented, mobile industry through project-based training centres.
  • ConstructionSkills Apprenticeships has the highest framework completion rates in the industry, and offers a choice of routes - traditional or Programme Led
  • On-Site Assessment and Training and Experienced Worker Practical Assessment to help qualify the existing workforce.
  • Health and Safety Test delivery, which forms an essential component of the industry’s competence schemes such as CSCS and CPCS.
  • Advice and support for employers through our network of Company Development Teams.
  • Adult training and apprenticeships for young people in specialist construction skills through the National Construction College.
  • Assessment services to the specialist sectors within the construction industry through the National Specialist Accredited Centre.
  • Qualification review and development through the Construction Qualification Strategy to ensure qualifications meet the needs of industry.

For more information visit www.cskills.org

About ConstructionSkills’ Apprenticeships

ConstructionSkills places approximately 9,500 traditional apprentices per year through its Apprenticeship Division – all of whom have been pre-screened to establish that they are of a good standard. ConstructionSkills Apprenticeships operates through a network of regional offices and offers extensive training opportunities in close co-operation with employers. All off-the-job training for S/NVQs and key skills is subcontracted to colleges of further education and commercial training centres. All learners are employed and working towards S/NVQs within nationally agreed frameworks for their trades. ConstructionSkills Apprenticeships also provides benefits such as payment of college fees and apprentice travel and accommodation, as well as apprenticeship Grant.

About PLA’s

PLAs provide a flexible route through which young people can acquire the underpinning knowledge and skills that will be required for successful completion of the full apprenticeship framework. By gaining the same skills as will be required when the apprentice moves into the employed phase, apprentices are better prepared to meet the expectations of employers, will complete their framework more quickly and become productive earlier in their employed phase. Programme Led Apprenticeships also mean that time spent on the two phases is used efficiently, with minimal duplication between the two phases.

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