LEADING employers are contributing to a new £1 million scholarship scheme to attract the country's brightest undergraduates into the industry.
The scheme is run by CITB-ConstructionSkills and will offer students funding of up to £9,000 each to support them through university.
The Inspire Scholarship scheme is aimed at the top 35 per cent of students applying this October for degree courses in construction and the built environment.
Sponsoring employers will also provide a 10-week summer placement at the end of the first year with the possibility of placement opportunities during sandwich years.
Firms backing the idea include Amec, Balfour Beatty, Mowlem and Persimmon.
CITB-ConstructionSkills director Nicola Thomson said: 'An increasing number of school-leavers are opting for construction degree courses. But the trend needs to accelerate rapidly to meet the needs of the industry.
'We are grateful to the construction industry's leading employers, who have supported the scheme.
'They will provide scholars with on-site training and practice to match the theory that they will learn on their courses, raising the quality of next year's recruits to the industry.
'ConstructionSkills firmly believes that you can learn theory but skills are only developed through practice. Inspire Scholarships enable us to support talented young people with both the theory and the skills they will need to excel in our industry.'
Anyone leaving school to start university in October 2005 can apply online for an Inspire Scholarship at www. bconstructive. co. uk/uni.