Government and Federation of Master Builders set up task force to organise construction industry apprenticeships

The government has set up a task force to find apprenticeship places for 10,000 young people on construction courses who cannot find a contractor to take them on to finish their training.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) will head an industry-wide initiative following a government pledge to overhaul apprenticeships.

The skills minister promised earlier this month to provide financial backing to train every young person to an advanced apprenticeship level and raise the number of apprenticeship schemes from 250,000 to 400,000 by 2010-11.

The task force will look to increase awareness levels of the business benefits of taking on apprentices as well as the future risk to industry of not investing in the workforce.

Currently less than 10% of construction employers take on apprentices, despite a major demand for skilled workers in an industry that will require recruitment of 87,600 more workers each year for the next five years.

Skills minister David Lammy said: “Over £1bn in government funding has been ring-fenced to increase overall places across all sectors from 250,000 today to more than 400,000 by 2020.

“I call on employers in the construction industry to work with us to ensure that an apprenticeship place is available for everyone who needs one.”

Geoff Lister, president of the FMB, said: “Twenty-two per cent of FMB members train apprentices, compared to less than 10% across the construction sector. I’d like to dramatically increase both these figures.

Max Hamps, ConstuctionSkills apprenticeships director said: “The huge shortage of employers to meet the increasing demand from young people is something that can only be addressed if we unite as an industry and commit to tackling it. “

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