TRAINING grants for engineering construction companies increased 12 per cent last year to £13.6 million as the sector struggled to cope with increasing demand and an aging workforce.
The rise is contained in the latest annual accounts published this week by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board.
Figures for the year to December 2005 show the board doled out £13.6 million in grants despite receiving only £13 million in income.
The shortfall was made up from surplus funds which stand at more than £14 million.
Leaders of the board predict they will put more than £16 million into training this year as the industry needs to attract 2,500 new recruits annually just to replace those retiring.
Board chairman Terry Lazenby said: 'Priority areas for this year and beyond have the very clear aim of encouraging the sector to train far more people, sharing the cost more equitably between ECITB, Government and employers.'