Builders urged to take on apprentices

BUILDING and construction employers in the East of England are failing to make use of young talent seeking a career in the industry, despite a looming skills shortage, it has been claimed.

BUILDING and construction employers in the East of England are failing to make use of young talent seeking a career in the industry, despite a looming skills shortage, it has been claimed.

Employers are being urged to act quickly to secure some of the high-calibre would-be apprentices currently available to help meet future workload and skills demands within the industry.

CITB-ConstructionSkills - the construction industry training body and a partner in the Sector Skills Council for construction - says it has more than 535 local aspiring construction recruits registered with its managing agency who have already passed selection tests and are eager to start work in the industry.

However, with only 96 current employer vacancies, there is a shortfall of 439 placements for apprentices across the East of England.

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This is despite growing evidence of a future skills shortage, with the latest Construction Skills Network Report, published in last month, estimating that 14,590 people are needed in the East of England to join the construction industry every year for the next 10 years to meet expected demand.

Employers in the region from all sections of the industry, from trowel and wood work to painting and decorating, are being encouraged to take up apprentices before August 1 to ensure they do not miss out - and a grant of up to £8,000 is available to employers registered with CITB-ConstructionSkills to help with training costs.

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The CITB-ConstructionSkills managing agency service provides a dedicated team to help employers select a suitable apprentice that complements their business. The team also works with the apprentices to identify appropriate college places, and provides ongoing support and advice throughout the training period to both the apprentice and employer.

Max Hamps, agency director, said that apprentices could bring a great many benefits to employers. “Apprentices play an important role in securing the future of the companies who employ them,” he said. “Our qualified apprentices have already passed the necessary selection tests and have demonstrated their dedication and enthusiasm to work in the industry.”

The apprentice recruitment drive from CITB-ConstructionSkills comes at a time when the industry is enjoying a period of sustained growth, with further major projects being planned in the region including port developments projects at Felixstowe and Harwich.

Jim Robinson, CITB-ConstructionSkills' East of England new entrant manager, said the challenge was balancing training with the growing demand within the industry, both nationally and regionally.

“With only a limited time left before placements are filled, it is vital that our local employers act now to secure the right apprentice to help them meet their workload demands and plan for the future growth of their company,” he said.

“We are committed to helping employers recruit high quality apprentices that best fit their business,” continued Jim. “We also provide mentoring and support for apprentices from dedicated training officers as we believe that a qualified workforce is a safe and competent workforce.”

For more information and advice on how to recruit a construction industry apprentice, call CITB-ConstructionSkills on 01582 727 462 or visit .

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