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Construction apprenticeships on the rise

22 Oct 12 Contractors are backing apprenticeships despite the infrastructure crunch, according to latest figures from Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

Results from its annual training and development survey show that contractors are increasing the number of apprenticeships.The survey shows that the number of companies employing apprentices has risen over the past three years, from 14% to just over 20% of respondents.

However, it also indicates that there was a decline in the number of SMEs who recruited apprenticeships in 2011.

More than a fifth of CECA members responded to the survey, representing a total of more than 20,250 employees. Of these, 45.7% said they expected to carry out more training over the next year, with 44.3% saying they expected to carry out the same amount of training.

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CECA National managing director Mark Roper said: “CECA is proud that its members continue to support apprenticeships in the industry, despite the difficult economic climate they have been facing.” Training and recruiting apprentices is vitally important for the health of the UK’s infrastructure sector, he said. “However there is a real concern that this demand is not reflected across the wider industry. In light of the aging workforce, there is a vital need to provide quality apprenticeships to train tomorrow’s workforce today.”

In its recent publication, Infrastructure: the routemap for growth, CECA called for increased funding for civil engineering apprenticeships, as well as training for the existing workforce to aid retention and enable work in new and emerging markets.

“Job sustainability is just as important as reducing unemployment in the short term,” said Roper. “This is why CECA is campaigning for the expansion of the pre-apprenticeship model, as well as wider roll-out of the shared apprenticeship scheme, to enable more businesses to train the next generation.”

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