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Task force to double apprenticeships by 2011

Skills minister backs task force to double the number of construction apprenticeships in England in the next four years.
Task force to double apprenticeships by 2011
On December 3, David Lammy MP showed off his new team set up to tackle the shortfall in employer vacancies and identify all barriers to apprenticeship take-up.

Less than 10% of construction employers are taking on apprentices, at a time when the UK faces huge demand for skilled workers and needs to recruit an extra 87,600 workers each year for the next five years.

Between now and 2012, 7,500 new projects valued at nearly £250 billion are expected to start in addition to on-going repair, maintenance work and construction projects already in progress.

The task force will look into how best to persuade industry to provide more apprenticeships by looking at why the construction firms are not offering more apprenticeships. The majority of construction firms are small businesses whose time and money is required for onsite and off-site training.

More than £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.

David Lammy MP said: “In order to deliver major projects such as the Thames Gateway development and the Olympics we need a vibrant and fully skilled construction workforce, and apprenticeships are central to ensuring this is achieved.

'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', said Lammy.'

Employers, federation representation, union officials, government departments will form the task force and will be led by Geoff Lister, president of the Federation of Master Builders.

“22% of FMB members train apprentices compared to less than 10% across the construction sector, I’d like to dramatically increase both these figures', said Lister.

The construction sector generates almost 9% of UK GDP and with a turnover of more than £203bn a year. For details on ConstructionSkills apprenticeship visit www.cskills.org/apprenticeships

The search began for the country’s top apprentice employer as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) launched its fifth annual Apprenticeship Awards 2008. Employers are encouraged to enter the awards which opened for entries on December 3 at the event attended by David Lammy.

To enter the awards visit apprenticeships.org.uk/awards. Deadline for entries is February 29, 2008. The Apprenticeship Awards will be held on July 10, 2008 at London's Royal Horticultural Halls.
4 December 2007

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