The Prince’s Trust has launched a series of women-only training courses in construction trades to address the growing skills shortage in the industry.

The two-to-four week Get Into Construction course, aimed at women under 25, will be launched by the Prince of Wales’ charity in the east of England, London and Yorkshire next month. It follows the trust’s general Get Into Construction course, aimed at disadvantaged young people. A Princes Trust spokesperson said: “Young people who have taken a wrong turn in life are given a second chance, but also it addresses education and a business needs.”

Students learn in groups of 12-16 on major contractors’ sites. After the course, they receive six-monthly follow-up support from youth workers. The initiative is sponsored by the 40 companies of the Construction and Business Services Leadership group who each pay a minimum of £15,000 a year. ConstructionSkills, the industry skills council, will help to fund the women-only courses.

Following pilot schemes last year, courses have been running across the country since April, and 28 programmes will have been completed by March 2008.

About 85% of participants have gone on to full-time employment or further training.