The government this week warned that it would only provide money for an overhaul of the industry’s training system if construction leaders chipped in as well.

Ivan Lewis, minister for skills and vocational education, told delegates at a skills conference on Tuesday that a “genuinely co-financed” training system was required. He also said the industry must produce a coherent plan for reform.

He said: “The industry has to recognise that increased training will offer a clear business gain. Individual companies need to make a greater financial commitment.”

Sir Michael Latham, chairman of the Construction Industry Training Board, was optimistic about the chances of reaching a consensus, but acknowledged that the sector had to make a greater commitment to funding.

The training conference was the first in a series of workshops designed to generate proposals for revitalising vocational training.