The construction industry is set to fall dramatically short of training the number of staff required to regenerate derelict sites by 2012, says the government.

The communities department puts the shortfall at 680,000 workers, including 300,000 engineers and 140,000 surveyors, or 75% of the numbers required for brownfield regeneration.

Paul Syms, the department’s national brownfield adviser, said: “We’ve been too reliant on university graduates. Maybe other routes to training, such as apprenticeships, are just as important." He said the industry and government needed to act.

The department has published the findings in a draft brownfield skills strategy.