Advertisements in Loaded, FHM and Mizz aim to sell sexier image of the industry.
The Construction Industry Training Board kicked off the new year with a drive to attract young recruits through a publicity campaign.

Advertisements, like the one below, will appear in the February editions of magazines such as Loaded, FHM, Shoot, Official Playstation Magazine, Top of the Pops and Mizz.

It will also feature this month in The Sun, The Star, The Guardian and The Mirror.

The £150 000 campaign forms the central plank of the CITB's drive to entice new talent into the industry, which will culminate in National Construction Week in October.

The CITB says 370 000 newcomers will be needed over the next four years to replace employees who are retiring and to fill the gap created by an overall increase in work.

CITB communications director Jerry Lloyd said of the campaign: "We are playing to young people's interests and making it clear to them that construction is interesting and sexy."

But Lloyd warned that the campaign would only be effective if the industry supported it by promoting schemes such as sending young employees into schools.

The Construction and Employment Training Forecast 2001 to 2005 says that 74 000 new recruits a year are required. This figure anticipates that 64 000 staff will be needed to replace employees leaving the sector and 10 000 to cover the increase in activity.

One thousand more recruits are needed compared with 1999 to offset a higher retirement rate.

The greatest demand is for carpenters and joiners followed by managers, electricians, clerical workers and bricklayers.

A CITB survey conducted last spring estimated that four out of five employers in London was finding it difficult to recruit skilled staff.

Carpenters, joiners and bricklayers were most difficult to find, followed by plasterers, painters and decorators, scaffolders and general operatives.

Construction Confederation president John Gains said it was essential to recruit more young people. He added that the industry was hampered by its poor image and health and safety record.

Difficulties with sourcing labour are proving particularly dangerous to small and medium-sized firms.

National Federation of Builders chairman Malcolm Clarke said: "You are pricing plasterers at £100 a day at the beginning of a contract and then find when you come to use them that they cost £150 a day. If that happens a lot, then you go bust."