Unite, the UK’s construction union, has called for changes to be made in public sector procurement rules following the decision by the official receiver to make redundant 341 Carillion apprentices.
The decision to make the apprentices redundant was made just as Parliament went into recess for the summer, preventing MPs from raising concerns at the decision and demands from Unite the Union for changes to be made to public sector procurement rules.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The dismissal of Carillion’s remaining apprentices once again demonstrates that the construction skills crisis will not be tackled until procurement rules are introduced which require that all companies undertaking public sector contracts must train apprentices.”
When Carillion collapsed in January it employed 1,200 apprentices and following the company demise the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has found suitable placements for over 800 of the affected apprentices.
The decision to make redundant the remaining apprentices is a further blow to the construction industry which is in the depths of a deep seated skills crisis. In 2016/17 there were just 21,010 people on construction apprentice courses, the decision to make the remaining Carillion apprentices redundant reduced the entire UK’s apprenticeship numbers by 1.6 per cent.
The axing of the apprentices once again demonstrates the government’s failure to deal with the collapse of Carillion. As the UK’s biggest construction client the government could have used its procurement power to ensure that all of Carillion’s apprentices were found suitable new placements.
Ms. Cartmail said: “This is an appalling way to treat these apprentices who should have become the backbone of the industry. To dump them and to destroy their training is an act of crass stupidity.
“The government could have used its procurement power to find placements for these apprentices but it chose not to, demonstrating that it is not serious about dealing with the skills crisis facing the industry.