That an industry in recession has managed to retain almost 700 apprentices who were at risk of not being able to complete their training is a significant success – which was sadly not reflected in your recent feature (“Displaced persons”, 24 April, page 24) which chose to focus on trainees who are still at risk

The Construction Apprenticeship Matching Service (AMS) was a new initiative, rapidly deployed by ConstructionSkills to provide support to employers, apprentices and training providers during the downturn. ConstructionSkills set up the service for the industry and working with our partners has developed a range of interventions aimed at keeping apprentices with their employer, and where this is not possible, seeking to find a new placement.

To date, 35% of almost 2,000 apprentices registered with the AMS have been retained. This is in addition to the 19,000 apprentices currently in employment. Credit should go to all of these employers, many of whom are small firms who are facing a challenging future, but who recognise the value of keeping these young people in the industry.

Our top priority is to find employers for those apprentices who are close to finishing their framework, which means they are close to being operational and a great asset to any employer. Those interested should call the AMS team on 0844-8750 086.

Nigel Donohue, apprenticeships programme manager, ConstructionSkills