The Construction Industry Council has warned that declining student numbers will lead to future skills shortages.

Latest figures for applications for construction-related courses show that there were 9700 in 1997. This is a fall of 22% on the number applying in 1994.

Professor John Bale, chair of a CIC committee responsible for education, has drawn up a set of recommendations to improve the situation. He said: "We are looking for a meeting with the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and various funding councils."

Construction Confederation chief executive Jennie Price said: "Courses will only be attractive if there are decent jobs available at the end of them. Employers have to play a more powerful role."

  • The CIC's guide to partnering was launched this week by construction minister Nick Raynsford. It is intended for clients, consultants, contractors and specialists.