CRANE hirers and the CITB are launching the first 'lifting academy' for apprentices in a bid to ease the shortage of young workers entering the industry.
The course for service engineers will be the first in the industry to train apprentices for a specific sector from scratch.
The CITB and the Construction Planthire Association are looking to widen the scheme to other sectors where there are skill shortages, such as plant operation.They are seeking companies that are willing to take on apprentices for training, allowing the creation of bespoke courses at regional colleges.
The lifting academy will run as a pilot project at Myerscough College in Lancashire, with the first year's entry supplied by a single hirer, Ainscough, which has committed to taking on an apprentice at each of its depots.
The scheme has been created by the CPA crane interest group and the CITB's plant team in a bid to meet the shortages of young people entering the sector. CPA crane-hire members have signed up to provide sufficient apprentices to subsequent annual intakes at Myerscough.
The four year-apprenticeship will mix college-based training and on-the-job experience. It will take in an NVQ Level 2 qualification and lead to an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship in plant maintenance and repair and, ideally, employment with the sponsoring company.
CITB grants cover a proportion of the costs to companies.
A CITB spokesman said: 'This has been set up to meet a need.We are keen to expand the scheme for other sectors.'
The CITB is calling on hirers who face particular skills shortages to register their interest in bespoke apprenticeships, either with their own workers or to be matched up with the board's database of potential candidates.
He said: 'We see it working for areas such as plant operation or maintenance. If there is a national hirer who could support a range of apprentices, or those who can support just one, we want to hear.
'There are 22 colleges running plant maintenance courses currently and they could all run bespoke courses, provided there is a flow of apprentices.'