ConstructionSkills will assign up to £1,000 to companies that provide employment to displaced apprentices in last 12 months of programme

ConstructionSkills has secured £1m worth of funding from the National Apprenticeship Service in a bid to help displaced apprentices secure employment.

The sum was awarded to help support construction companies that take on apprentices laid off in the downturn. Firms will be eligible to apply for financial support of up to £1,000 if they provide apprenticeship employment to displaced apprentices nearing the end of their framework.

Funding is available for those in the last 12 months of their apprenticeship. It is hoped at least 800 extra trainees across the UK will benefit from this newly-available funding.

Just 31% of the 2,408 displaced apprentices managed by ConstructionSkills have been re-employed so far.

It is hoped the money will serve as an incentive for more employers to support the skills body's apprenticeship matching service (AMS), which helps employers hold onto their apprentices, or where this is not possible, match displaced apprentices with new employers.

Commenting on the news, Nigel Donohue apprenticeship programme manager for ConstructionSkills, said: “We have been talking to the government in recent months about the need to support employers in our industry through this difficult time and the funding from the National Apprenticeship Service will do just that: £1,000 for each apprentice adopted through the AMS will make the proposition a lot more viable for many employers.

He added: “It is absolutely imperative that we do all that is possible to retain the talent within the industry, in a concerted and co-ordinated effort, to try and prevent a skills shortage.”