Construction union wants public procurement to boost apprenticeships

5 April 2012

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5 April 2012 | Adam Leach

A construction workers union has called on the UK government to introduce a policy to require contractors on public sector projects to train apprentices.

The Union of Construction, Allied Trade and Technicians (UCATT) made the call after an episode of BBC documentary Panorama highlighted a number of issues with apprenticeship schemes, including apprentices not given sufficient training.

The Union said to raise the profile and participation in apprenticeship programmes, the government should implement a requirement that firms must offer them to win public sector contracts.

“UCATT is campaigning for the number of construction apprentices to be increased by the introduction of public sector procurement policies that would require companies who work on government contracts to train apprentices,” said general secretary Steve Murphy.

The government has already made moves towards stimulating growth in the number of apprenticeships through procurement. The Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill is moving through Parliament, but progress has currently stalled.

In February, transport secretary Justine Greening announced suppliers bidding to design and manufacture trains for the Crossrail project must provide details of how many apprenticeships they would provide through the project, were they to be successful.

The Scottish government is also planning to introduce measures to promote apprenticeships through its sustainable procurement bill.

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