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Apprentices urged to finish courses

CITB ConstructionSkills is to launch an industry-wide initiative to encourage thousands more apprentices to complete their training courses.

Currently just 3,000 apprentices a year finish their courses out of a possible 9,000.

The Sector Skills Council is setting a target of 13,000 course completions a year by 2010.

CITB business services director Frazer Clements said: 'The problem is that a lot of people start apprenticeships but get lured into the industry before they finish them.

'We're talking to the Major Contractors Group and other organisations.They recognise the need to do this and are committed to engage apprentices.'

Exactly how the apprentices will be encouraged to complete their training has not been decided but Mr Clements said it would be running a series of workshops on the issue later this month and in April.

Mr Clements added that the training body would also be repositioning itself as a one-stop shop for business information and training advice for small and mediumsized firms.

He said: 'Our vision is that one person can visit an SME, look at the training and business needs and signpost the action that has to be taken.'