Training in the Construction Industry

Employment and Learning – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 25th February 2002.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:15 pm, 25th February 2002

9. asked the Minister for Employment and Learning what measures have been put in place to encourage more young people to take up training in the construction industry.

(AQO 899/01)

Photo of Carmel Hanna Carmel Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party

Responsibility for encouraging young people to take up training in the construction industry rests with the Construction Industry Training Board (Northern Ireland) (CITB), which is the only remaining statutory training board in Northern Ireland. Its remit is defined under the relevant legislation as the encouragement of adequate training of persons employed or intending to be employed in the industry. The Department facilitates the industry through the work of the careers service and provides funding for trainees and apprentices in the sector through Jobskills, Focus for Work and New Deal.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I thank the Minister for her response. Does the Department recognise that the number of young people who take up such trades has decreased? Does it recognise that those trades are essential to the future well-being of Northern Ireland? Does the Department intend to develop a programme that will encourage more young people to take up traditional building trades?

Photo of Carmel Hanna Carmel Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party

Employment levels in the construction industry have grown constantly in the last few years, and the effect of growth in the industry in the South has caused a tight labour market. The Member is right — it is more difficult now to encourage young people to take up these trades. In the last full year, staff from the CITB made a total of 478 school visits. Since 1995, the board has invested £50,000 per annum of its levy in careers promotion. Activities have included job sampling across a wide range of construction skills, careers publications that explain the opportunities on offer and attendance at events such as school open days. I agree that we must do all that we can to encourage young people to learn those skills.