Skills secretary John Denham yesterday announced a new £133M initiative to help beat the skills shortage in the UK construction industry.
The three-year deal has been agreed by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) the Learning and Skills Council, (LSC) and ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry, to help deliver more skilled and qualified workers in a sector requiring over half a million new entrants in the next five years.
This includes 6,500 new apprenticeships, over 2,000 specialist apprenticeships and 50,000 qualified plant operatives.
It will also support a proposal for a Construction Bursary Scheme, providing bursaries of up to £1,200 to allow atypical diverse apprenticeship candidates to work on site for up to 12 weeks prior to commencing employment. It is anticipated that 500 people annually will enter apprenticeships via this route over the three year period.
In addition, the funding agreement will build on existing success and support more employers to sign up to the Skills Pledge. Working with ConstructionSkills, over 1,000 firms - with over 60,000 employees - have already signed up, making construction the leading sector in demonstrating its commitment to training.
The move follows John Denham's recently announced consultation on a new right to "time to train" for employees, alongside a renewed commitment to ensure the skills system delivers appropriately trained people for industries employing the workforce of the future.
Skills Secretary John Denham said: "The government values the immense contribution the construction industry makes to our national life, and is committed to working closely with the sector to help it attract, train and retain quality staff."