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Modern apprentices must continue to be recruited in the recession

It is encouraging news that the Scottish Labour Party believes every Scottish Government contract should be required to stipulate that apprentices must be recruited.

Coupled with the recent government announcement of Pounds 230 million in accelerated capital spending in Scotland and the creation of 7,800 apprenticeship places in 2009-10, it is good to see the lifeblood of the construction industry has not been forgotten in these difficult times.

It's a sad fact that 20,000 construction jobs were lost in Scotland last year and that, compared to a high of 5,000 in 2007, the recruitment of apprentices may fall to below 2,500 this year. But, in order to deliver the Government's ambitious infrastructure investment plan successfully, we need to recruit the next generation of homegrown talent.

For this to happen, the Pounds 230 million of accelerated capital spend must be used in a way that maintains a flow of construction work which allows building companies to retain existing apprentices and recruit new ones. This will help build a skills legacy which will help Scotland recover and grow, as we steer a path through the current recession.

Michael Levack, chief executive, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton's Close, Edinburgh.

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