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Training needs radical surgery

AGENDA - COMMENT

CONSTRUCTION training is rapidly heading down the same route as the National Health Service. Vast amounts of cash are being shovelled into the system with no evidence of any real improvements.

Training is vital to the future of the industry.

But the current set-up is failing everyone from teenage apprentices to the country's biggest contractors. Money is coming in from all sides as training levy cash is boosted by grants from EU social funds. So why are contractors complaining that the system is letting them down?

The answer draws even stronger parallels with the NHS. Construction training has become a monstrous tangle of bureaucracy and political infighting. Awarding bodies, inspection groups and industry assessors all fight among themselves to protect their own fiefdoms to guarantee a constant flow of funding.

The bot tom line is that training is seen as a way of making money rather than helping the industry equip its next generation of workers.

Even when youngsters get the qualifications they need , many will fail to find work with contractors because they have no site experience.

This is a terrible waste of effort and money.

The existing system is clearly not working and it is time for a radical overhaul. New construction minister Margaret Hodge would make a lot of friends in the industry if she announced a root-and-branch overhaul of training.

The current system is in need of emergency surgery ? let's hope the Government acts in time.