Diane Johnson, skills ambassador at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), has called for action over the fall in construction apprentice numbers, warning that failure to recruit young blood in the right amount will have disastrous consequences in the future.

Johnson said, “These industries are sitting on a ticking time bomb – without an increase in the number of apprentices we are going to face a skills crisis in five years’ time. This has further implications than on just the construction industry. UKCG figures show construction delivers a £2.84 return on every £1.00 spent, so we cannot afford for this sector to suffer.”

She added, “Regulation means that it’s hard to get insurance for apprentices under the age of 19 to work on-site. This inhibits work-based training and makes it difficult for cash strapped businesses to take on apprentices. The government needs to make flexible funding available for construction apprenticeships. This would help provide opportunities for young people and would ease the burden on employers, so they can develop the next generation of skilled British workers.”