Contractors’ confidence that workloads will be maintained has led to a rise in the number of trainees on industry training courses.

The total number of trainees attending schemes promoted or managed by the Construction Industry Training Board this year is expected to be about 15 800, up more than 1000 on last year’s total. The forecast for next year is 16 400, CITB chairman Hugh Try said last week.

A spokesperson for the CITB said: “We react to employers’ needs. Employers know they will need these people, so they are training them. It’s a very positive sign.” Most CITB trainees are employed under the Construction Apprenticeship Scheme, under which employers take on trainees for three years.

The spokesperson also said the rise in trainees could be attributed to clients that are increasingly insisting that contractors use only properly qualified site workers.

The CITB says trainees’ job prospects have improved considerably over the past four years. In 1995, there were more trainees than employers wanting trainees; in 1997, the figures were equal and last year, 1000 employers were unable to find trainees.