Letter: Building a future

The dramatic impact of the recession on the number of construction apprenticeships has been confirmed by new figures released by the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council.

The figures show that the number of registered apprentices in the building sector fell by 52 per cent between 2007 and 2010. But they also suggest that the industry may be starting to turn the corner, with 53 more apprentices registered in 2011 than in 2010.

With the country facing unprecedented youth unemployment, apprenticeship opportunities in construction remain crucial, offering so many young people the opportunity to develop specialist skills and to pursue a rewarding career in a strategically important industry.

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And with business failures at a record level, the proportion of construction employers engaging apprentices has held up remarkably well.

With numbers beginning to show signs of stabilising, employers are fully committed to offering new opportunities and attracting new blood into the industry.

We are ambitious about the future and look forward to a time when apprentice numbers can return to the levels seen some five years ago.

In the meantime, this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Scotland’s apprentices – in the construction industry and throughout the economy.

Michael Levack

Scottish Building Federation

Crichton’s Close

Edinburgh