I would like to take Sir Michael to task with regard to his comment "I have seen the decline in applications for undergraduate courses with great concern …" as this statement is diametrically opposed to the policy that he has just imposed.
I will explain. For a few years now the Construction Industry Training Board, bless it, has been aware that its focus has been on craft careers and that a whole sector was not being promoted – namely the "professions".
So, under the banner of the CITB, regional Construction Careers Groups were formed and funded to begin to raise the profile of the work done by those who design, manage and construct. All were welcome, all contributed, and it was amazing: we all pulled together for one common goal and were getting somewhere.
In the East Midlands, for example, we had begun to get official backing, we were visiting good schools and it was going great guns. Because of our work, young people and those who teach them started to realise that our industry is sexy, it uses IT, you can make a contribution to society, earn good money and have fun. I was working for a consultant while doing these activities and we secured staff as a result of these sessions. It worked.
However, just a few weeks ago, the CITB pulled the funding and the groups are no more – although the CITB wants those of us who have assisted to continue to do so …
From his comment, Sir Michael is clearly oblivious that his policies underlie the problem.
Steve Elkin, via email.