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Govt push to create 7,000 new apprenticeships

More than 7,000 apprenticeships will be created in the construction sector over the next three years in spite of the economic downturn, the Government has said.

Skills secretary John Denham today announced that new Government commitments on procurement would drive the a jump in numbers and make “apprenticeships a mainstream option for young people who want to get on”.

He said: "We anticipate that one in five of all young people will be undertaking an apprenticeship by the end of the next decade.

"This Government has rescued and rebuilt apprenticeships and seen their numbers dramatically increase over the past 10 years. But we need to go much further, which is precisely why we are investing £1 billion by 2010-11.

"It's great that private sector employers are making such a commitment to, and an investment in, their workforce. We need to do the same in the public sector and must ensure that every pound invested by taxpayers not only helps deliver new infrastructure projects but will also help provide the skilled workers needed in the future and enable more people to build a strong career."

Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie described the announcement as “excellent news”.

He said: “For nearly 30 years the industry has not been training enough construction apprentices.

"There is a problem with a skills gap and an ageing workforce. Employers were simply not interested in training the workers of tomorrow.

"Now they will have to or they will not receive Government contracts."