Just 60 apprentices have completed their training on the Olympic park and athletes’ village

The Olympic Delivery Authority has come under pressure from construction’s largest union, Ucatt, to guarantee that apprentices employed on the Olympics site who do not complete their training before the 2012 Games are able to do so on other projects.

George Guy, acting general secretary of Ucatt, was responding to figures obtained by Building from the ODA, which revealed that just 60 apprentices had completed their training on the Olympic park and athletes’ village. As part of its “skills legacy”, the ODA aims to create 350 qualified trades people.

“The ODA has so far failed to grasp the opportunity of making apprenticeship training a significant legacy of the Olympics,” Guy said. “If apprentices leave the Olympic site, the ODA can only rely on companies’ goodwill to ensure their training is completed.”

The Olympic build programme began in September 2007. So far, 426 apprentices have been employed on site. Many contractors have begun moving apprentices to other projects as Olympics work winds down.

A spokesperson for the ODA said its contractors are honouring their commitment to ensure apprentices obtain their qualifications and that it was not aware of any evidence to the contrary. However, the body conceded that it does not keep a record of the projects its contractors go on to.

Ucatt also accused the authority of setting its training targets too low at the beginning of the programme. Three years ago, the ODA was forced to double its target for apprentices from 1.5% - just half the average proportion of apprentices on UK sites - following outcry from unions.

“The problem was created in the early days of the project,” said Guy.