The Major Contractors Group and CITB-ConstructionSkills are to pilot a scheme to guarantee apprenticeships for construction students, as a hard-hitting report criticises the industry’s training record this week

Independent watchdog the Adult Learning Inspectorate released a report that slammed 40% of construction skills training as inadequate.

Last year, 40,000 recruits entered the industry, but the ALI’s Building the Future report found that only 34% will complete their training.

The industry bodies are setting up pilots for 20 students in each of six regions. The scheme will guarantee NVQ students work placements with major contractors and their supply chains after their first year in college. The scheme will operate on a transfer system, where students can start a placement with one contractor then continue training under another firm working in their area.

A source at the MCG said this ability to transfer placements was a key difference from the way apprenticeships have operated in the past. “Previously there has been a problem with placements, as students have often found it difficult to find placements in their local area. You can’t expect someone on an apprentice’s wage to travel across the country looking for work – but this system should address that,” he said.

He added that the MCG believed the scheme would answer some of the criticisms made in the ALI’s Building the Future report. As revealed in Building last week, the report found that 75% of employers do not offer apprenticeship training. It also slammed existing provision, saying 40% of schemes from training providers were inadequate.

The M&E sector was more successful than in other areas of the industry, with 60% of students completing qualifications compared with 25% of the 10,000 craft trainees under the CITB.

Nick Perry, director of inspection at the ALI, said: “The industry, particularly the CITB, should be asking itself why so much of its training is failing its apprentices when there are other areas that are doing a lot better.”

The CITB hit back at the criticism, saying that the ALI's figures showing low completion of craft apprenticeships were inaccurate.

Howard Maylard, CITB-ConstructionSkills operations director, said: “We simply don’t recognise the percentages ALI is quoting for our achievement rates in their press release.”