Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Vice President, Barry Clarke, said:
"Unite stresses a very important point – this ‘stop/start’ investment in infrastructure programmes is limiting apprenticeship opportunities and damaging efforts to boost skills growth in the industry. Throwing Government money at internships and apprenticeships will not help if there are no contracts for trainees to work on and therefore no real work for them to do.
"ICE supports the policy promoted by Construction Skills, whereby one apprentice is taken on for every £1m of public money invested, and we hope to see this scheme taken up."
"Chronic" shortages of skilled workers could spell "disaster" for the construction and engineering industries, a leading union warned today.
Unite called on the Government to speed up training of young people, warning there had been a "marked drop" in the number of apprentices in the two sectors.
Assistant general secretary Les Bayliss said: "Overall apprenticeships may be growing, but in the construction and engineering sectors numbers fell dramatically during the downtown.
"At a time when school leavers are finding it tougher to find apprenticeships in construction, the most effective way for Government to intervene is to use its procurement power and leverage on the public sector and infrastructure projects to make apprenticeships a priority.
"We want to see new and existing firms who have long standing and terrific records in investing in apprentices rewarded in future procurement and contracts within the supply chain in public sector projects."