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Industry acts to protect apprenticeships – but no time for complacency

Thousands of apprentices’ employment has been protected by construction’s pandemic response effort – but industry leaders are today warning more needs to be done to retain vital skills.

The latest data show that construction has so far bucked the trend of previous recessions, with only 206 (2.3%) CITB apprentices being made redundant. Of those, 78 have already been placed with a new construction employer, work is underway to place a further 90, 19 have found work in a different sector, and 19 are no longer being tracked.

Over 9,000 apprentices are continuing to be tracked by CITB Apprenticeships, from a high of 11,000. Many employers have used the Government’s Job Retention Scheme for their apprentices, with 8,395 furloughed at the peak, a figure that is currently down to 1,061.

Now, employers are being asked to join the over 700 businesses who have registered with the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (TRS). Over 900 individuals have registered and there are presently over 630 live vacancies.

TRS is a not-for-profit programme, backed by Government, business organisations, professional bodies and construction unions. The online portal allows skilled individuals to showcase their experience and expertise and helps businesses across the industry find the skills they need.

Mark Reynolds, joint-Skills Lead at the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Chief Executive of Mace Group, said: “We have pulled together as an industry amazingly well over the past six months, but we must not slacken the pace. 

“That’s why the CLC is calling on all employers to register with the Talent Retention Scheme now so you can continue to play your role in securing the future of the sector, and our apprentices.”

Sarah Beale, joint-Skills Lead at the CLC and Chief Executive of CITB, said: “We are entering a critical period where the recovery is underway but still relatively fragile.

"With over 1,000 apprentices still furloughed we know there is no room for complacency. We can all make a difference to the future of construction – and the time to make it is now.”