Scheme will let more smaller firms take apprentices without having to guarantee work

Constructionskills has announced a new ‘short-term’ apprenticeship scheme allowing college students to spend a year on site to achieve their NVQ 2.


On a “programme led apprenticeship” (PLA), young people spend two years at college taking their Intermediate Construction Award and Key Skills Level 1, before achieving NVQ Level 2 through a 9-12 month placement with an employer.

Constructionskills says 42% of construction trainees in England and Wales fail to qualify to full NVQ level due to a lack of suitable work placements, while its own apprenticeships scheme is oversubscribed by around 34,000 candidates each year. The PLA has been designed to make it easier for smaller, specialist contractors to take on an apprentice without having to guarantee work over a three-year period.

The training body has been piloting the scheme since 2005, with 100 students each year. The pilot had a 71% completion rate, which Constructionskills says compares favourably with other apprenticeship schemes.

Constructionskills apprenticeship operations manager Keith Watkins said: “This is not intended to be a replacement for traditional apprenticeships. PLAs will provide the industry with an additional supply of new recruits by increasing the number of employers who can take on an apprentice.”

Education minister Alan Johnson has promised apprenticeships for every young person that wants one by 2013, while the Leitch Review recommended a target of 500,000 young people on apprenticeships across all sectors by 2020.