Construction union Ucatt criticised the government today for "doing nothing" to support apprenticeships.
The downturn in the building industry has contributed to a fall in the number of apprentices but Ucatt reckons it will get worse.
But the coalition has turned a blind eye to a key recommendation in a major report by Parliament's business comittee.
MPs called for apprentice recruitment to be linked to government and council procurement policies, with an extra apprentice slot for every £1 million spent.
But the government has said no, claiming that apprentice requirements must be "flexible and proportionate … and must not be overly prescriptive."
Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said the Con-Dems' "plans to boost apprenticeship numbers are to do nothing.
"Apprentices are the lifeblood of the construction industry but numbers were declining even when the industry was booming.
"Unless construction companies are required to train apprentices they won't."
Mr Murphy said this was causing "long-term structural damage to the industry.
"Skills shortages already exist and these will grow as the industry recovers from recession and requires more workers."
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