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Labour mulls apprentice 'carousel' system

Labour is looking at ways to expand a system allowing apprentices to transfer between companies while they are training.

Speaking to Construction News, Steve Rotheram, Labour’s candidate for Liverpool Walton and an MP in the seat for the past five years, said the “carousel system” would suit construction companies that might find it hard to guarantee workloads over the course of an apprenticeship.

“There are a number of different issues if you’re an SME,” Mr Rotheram said. “One is about ensuring you’ve got continuity of work so we’re specifically looking at construction as an area where that might be more difficult.”

Under the proposal, of which Mr Rotheram said was currently only the subject of “internal discussion” within the party, apprentices could be attached to one company while there was work available but move to another if that work dried up.

He added that he would hope the CITB could “step in” to help find an alternative employer to keep an apprentice’s training going.

The CITB already runs a shared apprenticeship scheme, allowing apprentices to train with a number of employers. Labour’s plans indicate that this scheme could be replicated on a wider scale.

Mr Rotheram added: “It would not only complete the required training but give them experience of another company as well.”

The former apprentice bricklayer was one of a number of prospective parliamentary candidates speaking to Construction News in the run-up to the general election.

Apprenticeships was just one of the issues that the candidates said were critical to the construction sector ahead of next month’s vote.

Other key issues included the future of High Speed 2, London’s airport expansion and the impact of a possible EU exit.

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