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Sat June 15 2024

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Apprenticeship Incentive Payment Must be Coupled with Measures to Stimulate Growth, says Construction Industry Task Force

16 Nov 11 Government plans to invest around £30 million to offer an incentive payment to small businesses for hiring an apprentice could be inconsequential without additional plans to stimulate growth in the sector, says a cross-industry task force focused on increasing the number of construction apprenticeships.

Geoff Lister, Chair of the Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task-Force (CCATF), said:

“Over 93% of Britain's construction businesses employ fewer than 14 people and many are currently very concerned about the future. The idea of taking on an apprentice is daunting and so the CCATF has been advising the Government to help remove the financial barriers for small firms, which is why we welcome the plans for an incentive payment of £1,500 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. However, the real challenge is to get the construction industry growing again. Construction output is in decline and no significant sign of recovery is expected until 2014. Unless businesses see a reason to be optimistic, they are unlikely to expand their workforce.”

Lister continued:

“The Government’s plans to streamline the hiring process and to review apprenticeship standards and frameworks are also welcome. Small firms want to be confident that apprenticeship training will deliver the employability and practical skills most needed to help someone become a real asset to the business.”

Lister concluded:

“The construction industry took on over 26,500 new apprentices in 2010/11, which is 6% of the total number of apprenticeship starts. However, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, construction SMEs account for 12.5% of all SME employers. Therefore, the Government and the industry should be aiming for double the number of new construction apprentices.”

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