The British government continued intervention to support apprenticeship training across the economy has been notable in recent years. The construction industry is the only sector to retain a levy/grant scheme (that supports training including apprenticeships) since 1964, yet it still faces the problem of skills shortages. This article thus reviews the issues pertaining to apprenticeship training in the construction industry, namely: nature of the industry, demand/supply and employer engagement. It is argued that continued over-reliance on construction employers to offer work placement opportunities does not present a plausible way forward for supporting apprenticeship training given the deeply entrenched poor training culture in the industry. Policymakers thus need to move away from an elusive concept of employer engagement and consider alternative means for the provision of apprenticeship training. Exploring the application of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), in particular workplace simulation, in addition to the active engagement of experienced workers and trade unions, presents possible alternatives for supporting apprenticeship training. Unless policymakers are prepared to consider alternative ideas for apprenticeship training the construction industry is likely to continue experiencing skills shortages that can potentially impede its future development.
- employer engagement