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Don't abandon apprenticeships
Published:  27 April, 2010

SummitSkills has welcomed the DECC's consultation on skills needs to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the building services engineering sector (BSE), has welcomed the recently-opened consultation by the Department of Energy & Climate Change on skills needs to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Opened at the end of May, the consultation seeks views on the key skills-related priorities and challenges which are needed to ensure Britain takes advantage of the shift to a low-carbon economy as set out in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.

As highlighted in the government’s New Industry, New Jobs policy British businesses and individuals, particularly those in the BSE sector, will see a significant change in the skills required in order to ensure everyone is equipped to take advantage of this change.

This consultation comes at a time when SummitSkills has led a successful bid on behalf of employers in the sector for a £3 million Building Services Engineering Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies. The national skills academy will co-ordinate skills training in design, installation and maintenance.

Meanwhile, ConstructionSkills is calling for more UK contractors to help stimulate a “spirit of apprenticeships” throughout the sector’s supply chain. As part of its annual employer recruitment drive to encourage more businesses to invest in young people, the council is asking how the biggest contractors can use their considerable influence to demonstrate the value apprentices bring to businesses of all sizes.

Research has revealed that almost a third of companies have slashed their apprenticeship recruitment plans this year because of the recession. Following this news, ConstructionSkills is looking to top contractors to help foster a sector-wide sentiment that apprentices are good for business.

This comes as March’s budget announcement confirmed it would extend a guaranteed place in training for all 19- to 24-year-olds who have been without a job for six months for an additional year until March 2012.

“We firmly believe that apprentices are the future of the construction industry and vital to combat an ageing workforce.

“If we do not continue to employ young people and top up the industry with fresh talent, we will not have enough skilled workers to replace those retiring.

“If businesses keep cutting back on the number of apprentices they take on, the UK will face significant skills shortages in the future.”

ConstructionSkills has also developed a sustainability course in collaboration with Marks & Spencer to enhance the skills of those working on construction and refurbishment sites across the country.

Site Sustainability Simplified is an interactive two-day course designed for staff with construction site management and supervisory responsibilities.

The course will give delegates a much needed understanding of the principles of sustainable construction and show them how this can be applied, and put into practice on site.

For more details about the course and how to book a place, please visit www.nationalconstructioncollege.co.uk or call 0344 994 4433.