A LONDON council is asking contractors to help solve the skills crisis by getting them to pledge to train up sparks and chippies or risk being frozen out from jobs.
Croydon Borough Council is asking firms that bid for packages under its £60 million annual capital spending budget to supply tradespeople who can teach college students practical skills in demand such as carpentry, plumbing, bricklaying and painting and decorating.
The scheme, which is being developed with the Learning & Skills Council and run by Croydon College, is being launched next week.
The council's deputy leader Tony Newman said: 'If we are to continue relying on a building industry we know we have to ensure more people develop the practical skills needed.
'If this takes off, we would like it to be a requirement for companies invited to submit final tenders that they will additionally take on a responsibility to help train the next generation.'
He added: 'Non-participants would not be debarred from winning work but they would have considerable ground to make up on those willing to take on the tutoring responsibility.'
Tutors that contractors call on will not be expected to possess teaching skills but Mr Newman said: 'They will need to be trained in classroom techniques to give them the confidence needed to face students.'
The council works with around 100 contractors on its capital building and housing works.