ConstructionSkills has announced an apprenticeship scheme, which combines study and work on site for the first time.

Trainees on the programme-led apprenticeship (PLA) spend two years at college taking their Intermediate Construction Award and key skills level 1 before going on to a nine-12 month placement with an employer to achieve an NVQ level 2.

ConstructionSkills says 42% of trainees in England and Wales fail to gain a full NVQ owing to the lack of work placements.

Its own apprenticeship scheme is oversubscribed by about 34,000 candidates a year. It has been in operation since 2005, and takes on 100 students a year. The pilot had a 71% completion rate.

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

Alan Johnson, the secretary of state for education, has promised apprenticeships for every young person who wants one by 2013, and the Leitch Review set a target of 500,000 young people on apprenticeships across all sectors by 2020.