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I was interested to see the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) calling for Government action as it was announced that apprenticeships in the construction sector have fallen dramatically by almost a half.

In March this year, there were just 694 Construction, Planning and Built Environment apprenticeship starts compared to 1,247 in March 2018.

Also published recently is the independent panel report to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding requested by the Secretary of State for Education. It recommended that the Government makes provision for full funding at all ages for first qualifications at Level 2 and 3.

Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the FMB was quoted on the FMB’s website. “Construction apprenticeship starts have suffered a serious hit and we now need decisive action from the Government in order to reverse this decline.”

He went on to add that “The Government is uniquely placed to drive the apprenticeship agenda and, if the Ministers want to achieve their target of three million apprenticeship starts by the end of next year, they must review apprenticeship policy, including the Apprenticeship Levy.”

He concluded by saying “Of course, the construction industry itself must do more to rally around a shared ambition to promote the industry … The drop in starts by almost half should sound the alarm that we aren’t doing enough to get the message out there. If we don’t address the shortage the skills shortage by increasing training and apprenticeships, the construction industry won’t be able to expand and grow.”