Union saus industry will continue to flounder until government takes action

Tim Lezard

UCATTUCATT has described as “devastating” the latest figures which show a 14.6% fall in construction apprenticeship number.

Figures released by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills have revealed that there were just 24,000 apprenticeship starts in Construction, Planning and the Built Environment in 2011/12 , a decline of 14.6% on the previous year.

Despite the on-going recession in construction, a report by the Construction Skills Network last month, found that the industry still requires 29,050 new entrants every year to replace workers leaving the industry. When the industry begins to recover that number will increase dramatically.

The fall in construction apprenticeships comes a week after the government rejected proposals made by the BIS select committee that public sector procurement contracts should require all companies bidding for such work to train apprentices.

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “The latest figures for apprenticeships in the construction industry are devastating; the failure to train sufficient numbers of highly skilled workers will create long-term problems for the industry. The short term mind-set of much of the construction industry leads to a failure to invest in apprentices.

“Vince Cable’s failure to support proposals for government procurement policies to require companies to train apprentices shows he is the Mr Micawber of skills policy. The construction industry will continue to flounder while he hopes that something will turn up.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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