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£1M for construction apprentices

ConstructionSkills has secured £1M from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to support construction companies that take on apprentices who have been laid-off during the recession. 

Companies that are able to provide suitable apprenticeship employment to these displaced apprentices who are close to the end of their framework, and support them to complete their training will be eligible to apply for financial support of up to £1,000.

For employers who are registered with CITB-ConstructionSkills, this comes on top of the funding which may be available through the grant scheme. Funding is available for those in the last 12 months of their apprenticeship and it is hoped that at least 800 extra trainees across the UK will benefit from this newly-available funding.   

The money was secured from the NAS to act as an incentive for even more employers to support the ConstructionSkills Apprenticeship Matching Service (AMS), which helps employers hold on to their apprentices or, when this is not possible, matches displaced apprentices with new employers.

The service has recorded strong results in its short history, with 31% of the 2,408 displaced apprentices on its books in England, Scotland and Wales having already been re-employed. Following today’s news, ConstructionSkills and the NAS are calling on even more employers to commit to taking on an apprentice.

Apprenticeship Programme Manager for ConstructionSkills, Nigel Donohue, explains: “Our Apprenticeship Matching Service has been a huge step forward for the industry, helping to retain as many of the next generation of workers as possible.

“We have also been talking to Government in recent months about the need to support employers in our industry through this difficult time and the funding from the National Apprenticeship Service will do just that: £1,000 for each apprentice adopted through the AMS will make the proposition a lot more viable for many employers.

“It is absolutely imperative that we do all that is possible to retain the talent within the industry, in a concerted and co-ordinated effort, to try and prevent a skills shortage. At ConstructionSkills, we are successful in placing thousands of apprentices with construction companies every year throughout the UK, so it would be a real shame if these apprentices, especially those who are so close to the finish line, were lost to the industry,” he said.

Chief Executive of the NAS, Simon Waugh, said the grant provided a much needed boost to construction employers: “It is well documented that apprentices are good for your bottom line. In today’s challenging times, and particularly as we prepare for the upturn, apprenticeships are a vital way of improving the skills of staff and generating a committed and valuable workforce. This is why we are working with the industry to provide immediate financial support to ensure construction employers can keep taking on apprentices.”

Minister for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs Kevin Brennan said: “This is a welcome development which should help hundreds of apprentices to complete their training. As well as the support offered by ConstructionSkills, the National Apprenticeship Service is working hard with other colleges and training providers to ensure as many construction apprentices as possible can finish their apprenticeship. We have also introduced new flexibilities to support apprentices whose jobs are at risk, such as allowing apprentices to complete some of their training at a college where possible, and claim EMA or other financial support to tide them over until they find a new employer.”

The AMS offers a broad range of support services to help businesses retain their apprentices through the downturn, including mentoring for apprentices, advice for employers about other available support, and help with paperwork.

For further information on the ConstructionSkills Apprenticeship Programme, please visit www.cskills.org.  For information about Apprenticeships and how they can help your business, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk

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