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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Apprentices can now study first
trainee using spirit level
Employers say the new apprentices are useful from day one
A new form of construction industry apprenticeship has been devised in the hope of getting more employers in England and Wales to take on trainees.

The traditional route involves a two-year work placement with day or block release learning in college.

New "programme-led" apprenticeships let people spend two years on a college course before going into the workplace for between nine and 12 months.

The industry's skills council says there is a lack of work placements.

Constructionskills expects the traditional route to remain the mainstay.

But with the industry requiring some 87,600 new entrants every year for the next five years, and the government's Leitch review highlighting the need for more skills, anything that can raise opportunities and completion rates is seen as vital.


The skills council aims to provide an additional 1,000 students this year and twice as many next year via the new route.

Its apprenticeship operations manager, Keith Watkins, said programme-led apprenticeships should increase the number of employers who could take on an apprentice.

"They will also supply young people with a more diverse range of qualification choices, and colleges with a way to improve their completion rates and attract the brightest and best applicants."

He added: "We're calling on all employers to think about whether they could benefit from an apprentice - and use this new route as a reason to revisit their recruitment strategy."

The new apprenticeships, which have been through a pilot phase, will be offered at more than 80 colleges and private establishments.

Karen Walls of Newcastle-based contractor John W & S Dorin, which took part in the trial, said the new scheme had allowed it to take on short-term apprentices who - because of their college background - were useful from their first day on the job.

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