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A Firm Foundation

July 2008

The revival in Government interest in apprenticeships over the last ten years is a welcome development but despite both this and an extremely favourable decade of construction industry growth, employers are still reluctant to take on apprentices.

The industry now faces a growing skills crisis in terms of both skills gaps and skills shortages, which is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that the construction workforce is an ageing one.

The main problem in the UK construction sector is that training is employer-led in a sector in which the majority of employers are not prepared to meet the responsibilities of leadership. Too many short-term gains for individual firms are taking priority over the long term interests of the sector and the country, not to mention the workforce.

Construction must play a key role in any economic recovery.  Training apprentices now is the only way to deliver the skills needed to rebuild our infrastructure when the economy improves.  If the Government keeps going as it is, we will face an even bigger skills crisis in construction.

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