Construction worker UK
UK needs more apprentices for booming construction industry Reuters

The UK construction industry needs to tackle its "pathetically dismal" apprenticeship numbers.

According to a group of parliamentarians, a drastic fall in apprenticeship training comes at a time when the £100bn-plus construction industry is forecast to need 182,000 more workers in the next five years.

"Construction apprenticeships have plummeted in the past few years," said Nick Raynsford MP, co-chair of the commission.

He added: "For 2013 the number completing their construction apprenticeship in England fell to 7,280, just half the figure for 2008/09.

"They are pathetically dismal figures."

The comments come after an inquiry into how more young people can be employed in construction conducted by a commission of parliamentarians drawn from both houses and supported by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

The report also acknowledged there was no one single solution and actions will be needed to change current attitudes across a number of fronts.

But the politicians called for, among other things, public bodies and social landlords to use the levers available through public-sector procurement and the planning system to require realistic and effective training and employment commitments from employers.

Michael Brown, deputy chief executive at the CIOB, said: "During the course of the inquiry we saw excellent examples of not-for-profit and commercial organisations preparing young people for work and providing them with construction skills.

"The issue we have is one of scale. We need creative leadership to take current best practice and make it available across the industry."