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Property entrepreneur calls for trades training

Creating quality apprenticeships will solve the skills shortage in the construction industry and help to tackle long-term unemployment, according to a London property entrepreneur.

Will Davies, who co-founded property maintenance and refurbishment group Aspect, spoke out about the need for trades training to tackle the high number of young people joining the long term dole queue. Between February and April, long term unemployment figures rose by 11,000 despite a 5,000 fall in the official jobless total.

Mr Davies told Kensington and Chelsea Today that creating more apprenticeships to train the tradespeople of tomorrow would be a win-win situation

He said: “Our priority has to be to get everybody under-30 off the long-term unemployment register and into work and the answer has to be quality training and apprenticeships.

“There are over one million young unemployed in this country and they are becoming totally demoralised by the job market. If we don’t deal with the problem we will be paying for our failure for decades to come.

“The Government has been keen to highlight its support for higher apprenticeships but skill training for less qualified youngsters that can provide real jobs is also needed.

“The irony of the situation is that the building trades are looking at massive skill shortages.”

In the last four years, a quarter of plumbers and 19 per cent of bricklayers have left the trades, while there are now 17 per cent fewer joiners and 11 per cent fewer roofers that there were three years ago, according to research by Simply Business.

Mr Davies, a former investment banker, said: “All the building trades have been hit by the recession and the almost non-existent housing market. If we don’t start training youngsters immediately with these essential skills we will be importing an even higher percentage of our labour from Eastern Europe.”