By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East
Following the liquidation of Carillion, earlier this month, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is calling on all contractors and house builders to take on former apprentices who are now looking for work.
The CITB and Education and Skills Funding Agency have provided funds to keep courses going in the short term. It has attempted to contact the 1400 apprentices to discuss their future, and hundreds have already attended support events. CITB is also offering every former Carillion apprentice a face-to-face session with an CITB Apprenticeships Officer to find out their individual learning needs to ensure the next steps they take are the right ones.
The apprentices that will soon find themselves out of work, are primarily in bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, which according to the latest Federation of Master Builders (FMB) survey, is exactly what the industry and other housebuilders are lacking. The survey found that 68% of members are struggling to hire bricklayers, 63% carpenters and joiners, 48% reported difficulties hiring plumbers and electricians, 46% plasterers and 30% floorers. Figures are the highest since the FMB began their survey 10 years ago, so the industry is probably in the best position now to ensure the Carillion apprentices aren’t out of work too long – a silver lining if there ever was one.
With skills shortages at an all-time high and the governments ambitious house building target, of building 300,000 homes each year quickly catching up to us, we need to commit to recruiting and training the right people. There may be a skills shortage, but there’s certainly no shortage of work. The skills and experience of these apprentices are invaluable to the industry and crucial to the delivery of new homes and infrastructure.
We work so hard to encourage young people into the industry and show them alternative routes after school, so it is important that the industry steps up to support these apprentices in their time of need. The construction industry has its fair share of difficult times and unfortunately on this occasion there are many people who will be affected. However, we must remember that the skills knowledge and experience held by Carillion employees and apprentices are of huge value to the sector. I hope we as an industry, can pull together to ensure as many people as possible can be retained.
A hotline has been set up for both former Carillion apprentices, and construction employers who are interested in helping them. You can call 0344 994 4010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact CITB’s dedicated support team.
For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email email@example.com.