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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Prince attacks 'lack of skilled workers'
Prince Charles at the Cotswold canals project
Charles said schools can compound the skills shortage
The Prince of Wales has spoken of the decline in the numbers of skilled workers while visiting a canal project near his Gloucestershire home on Thursday.

The Prince praised conservation volunteers helping with the 82m restoration of the Cotswold canals.

But he said there was a real shortage of specialist workers able to carry out many projects needed to save similar heritage sites.

In a speech to people gathered at the Tunnel House Inn near Cirencester, he said how wonderful it was to see people working hard to save the past.

'Banging on'

He was visiting a project to regenerate the waterways which comprise the 29-mile Thames and Severn Canal and the eight-mile Stroudwater Navigation.

While unveiling a plaque at the site, the Prince apologised for "banging on" but said he was concerned at the demise of apprenticeships for such skilled restoration work.

The Prince of Wales in the Cotswolds
The Prince fears heritage sites are disappearing
He said: "All over the country there are employers crying out for the people to do these jobs."

But he went on to state that the shortage of skilled workers was sometimes compounded by schools and colleges which actively discouraged young people going into vocational areas.

He said he tried to help through his work with the Prince's Trust, but claimed it was a matter which needed real attention.

"I'm one of those people who has watched with increasing dismay every hedgerow torn up, every tree cut down, buildings destroyed and places tarmacked over - all the things that people have put their pride, skill and care into in the first place."

It is hoped the restoration will bring at least 1.8m new visitors to the area as well as creating around 500 permanent jobs and more than 1,400 building jobs.


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22 May 02 | England
21 May 02 | England
15 May 02 | England
14 May 02 | England
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