UK contractor to take on 200 more and get suppliers to expand apprentices further

UK contractor Laing O’Rourke has announced it is to double the number of apprentices it takes on as part of a significant overhaul of its apprenticeship programme.

The announcement, which comes during National Apprenticeship Week, will see the firm take on an extra 200 apprentices later this year, with 800 to follow, both from expansion of the group and by persuading its supply chain to increase its use of apprentices.

The firm said apprentices on its four-year full-time programme – called Apprenticeship Plus - would learn a mix of practical skills training and formal industry education in all aspects of modern engineering, manufacturing and constructing.

The move has been welcomed both by industry training body ConstructionSkills and by the mayor of London Boris Johnson, and follows government confirmation this week that all Building Schools for the Future projects would have to use apprentices.

ConstructionSkills’ chief executive, Mark Farrar, said the joint venture with Laing O’Rourke is one of the first tangible outcomes of its work to look at the long-term future of apprentices.

He said it was a “welcome and timely boost to this important agenda”.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the firm was setting an excellent example.

He said: “I urge businesses to follow this lead so that we generate a ripple effect that creates thousands of employment opportunities and work placements.”