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Construction apprenticeship figures give cause for concern

New figures from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) have shown that the number of construction apprenticeships have fallen by 10 per cent in 2013 so far – despite the total number of applications rising.

The figures showed that 1,635 apprenticeships were advertised in February, March and April this year, down from 1,824 in the same period in 2012. Construction News also reported that the number of applications submitted to the service rose from 6,050 during the three months to May last year, to 6,690 this year.

The figures indicated that the construction sector was lagging behind other industries during the period. John Phillips from major building contractor, Bam Construct, told delegates at the UK Contractors Group’s Yorkshire and the Humber Creating Britain’s Future event that he believes ncreasingly technically specialisms are hindering apprenticeships.

He explained that major construction requires very different skills to traditional building trades, such as plastering and bricklaying.

“These guys have got to be specialists at what they do, because at the end of the day you’re there to build a job on time and to the right quality and on budget,” he explained. “We need to just have a look at the way job opportunities and apprenticeships are created and dealt with by the local authorities.”

The NAS figures indicated that specialist construction apprenticeships are some of the most competitive among all sectors, with more than 20 applications submitted for each position advertised.