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Plumbing boss calls for standard apprenticeship scheme

The founder of London’s biggest independent plumbing company is urging the Government to create a standard national apprenticeship scheme.

Charlie Mullins, who started Pimlico Plumbers and who completed a four-year apprenticeship himself, believes that trades training would halve the number of young people on the dole. He said that a three-year training programme should replace the current mixture of schemes, with claimants’ Jobseekers Allowance paid to employers to subsidise the cost of taking on an apprentice.

Mr Mullins told The Daily Telegraph: “It should be that if you haven't got a job or a place at university when you leave school then you automatically go into an apprenticeship. It is not complicated. It is so frustrating because it is such a no-brainer. I am where I am today because of my apprenticeship. Of all the things I have done in my life that would be number one.”

A similar scheme already operates in Germany, where apprenticeships are given to everyone leaving school without a job or a place in higher education.

Mr Mullins, who started his business in 1979 and employs 200 people, currently has 25 apprentices and said if the Government introduced his suggested scheme, he would take on a further 50.

“And other companies would do the same. Apprentices bring so much energy and enthusiasm to the workplace,” he said.

He claimed that businesses are not taking on more apprentices because of the cost – around