Council joins 35 construction firms to offer apprenticeships and training to cope with flurry of projects.
Glasgow council and Scottish construction firms have joined forces to offer apprenticeships and retraining in a bid to prevent skills shortages in the city.

The partnership between Glasgow City Council, the Construction Industry Training Board, construction union Ucatt and construction companies will offer about 500 apprenticeships and 500 training programmes a year. They will be funded by the council and the CITB.

The fear of skills shortages has been prompted by a number of large projects about to start in the region. One is the scheme to tackle the backlog of repairs to Glasgow’s social housing stock. The stock is due to be transferred to a housing authority next year. Under the terms of the deal, the £1.6bn repairs backlog must be addressed within the next six to 10 years. Another project covers the city’s 29 secondary schools. These are to be rebuilt or refurbished in a £220m, 20-year private finance initiative scheme by a consortium including Miller Construction.

There is a lack of skilled workers in a number of trades. Graeme Barn, director of development at trade association Scottish Building, said: “There is a particular shortage of bricklayers and joiners, but there is a lack of skills in most areas.”

Up to 35 firms have so far said they will take on apprentices. Firms committed to the scheme include Miller Construction, Trollhurst, Mitie and local companies Morrison Spotswood, Bonnington and Nelson Builders. Miller has agreed, as a member of the schools PFI consortium, to take on 40 apprentices to work for the company and its subcontractors.

We may take on the paperwork for smaller firms or sponsor an extra apprentice

Robert Booth, Glasgow Council

Under the scheme as a whole, about 200 apprentices will begin work next week after initial training. At least the same number is expected to start training in January. There will be full-time training courses for the long-term unemployed, and 500 construction workers a year will be trained in new techniques.

Robert Booth, deputy director of building services at Glasgow council, said the average number of apprentices for a firm to take on was two or three, although middle to large-sized firms may take on seven or eight.

He said: “Smaller firms are often put off by the paperwork involved, so we will take that on for them. We may also be able to sponsor an extra apprentice at a firm.”

Booth denied suggestions that the scheme may have difficulty finding enough good candidates.