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With the launch of the first National Apprentice Week this month (25-29 February 2008) training provider, JTL, warns of a serious threat to the future of the UK’s electrical and plumbing industries if more employers don't train.

Predictions from the Blueprint for UK Construction Skills1 suggest there is a need for over 17,000 qualified electricians alone to enter the industry by 2011. To put this into perspective, JTL, which provides 80 per cent of the electrical industry's apprenticeship completions, currently releases 1,250 qualified electrical apprentices into the industry each year.

Denis Hird, Chief Executive of JTL comments: “Between 2008 and 2011, the UK construction industry will continue the trend of growth it has enjoyed for the last decade. To deliver this growth the industry will need an average of 87,600 new workers to be recruited each year1.”

“We hope the introduction of National Apprentice Week will serve to highlight the fact that we are heading to a major trade skills crisis unless both business and government work hard to increase the number of apprenticeships available. It is our firmly held belief that it’s not only the UK economy that benefits from apprenticeships but also the individual businesses that train.”

Newcastle based contracting company John N Dunn currently employs 40 apprentices. Managing Director, Chris Bilclough comments: “Apprenticeship training is at the heart of our business and plays an important role in its growth. The plumbing industry is highly competitive and we believe our staff really give us the edge.”

Apprenticeships present a real career option with a recently qualified electrician or plumber expecting to earn up to £36,000. This is in stark contrast to the number of graduates, many of whom, after spending four years studying for a degree, are out of work or earning a minimum wage with an average debt of £11,0002.


Notes to editors:

1Construction Skills Network - Blueprint for UK Construction Skills (2007-2011)
2Qualified electrician/plumber earnings and student debt statistics come from JTL February 2008.

The following are available for interview during National Apprentice Week:

· James Sirrell is a true success story. At 23 years old he has completed his electrical apprenticeship with JTL and now owns his own successful electrical contracting company in Leicestershire, employing 10 staff and JTL apprentices within his own business.

· Chris Bilclough, Newcastle

North East based contracting company, John N Dunn, currently employs 40 apprentices. John N Dunn was established in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1893 and was bought out by the Bilclough family who still own the company today. John N Dunn has a turnover of £23 million and over 250 employees, 40 of whom are apprentices on the JTL Advanced Apprenticeship programme. Chris comments: “Apprenticeship training is really at the heart of the business and plays an important role in its growth. The plumbing industry is highly competitive and your staff can give you an important edge.”

· Keith Phipps, London

Keith Phipps started out as an apprentice at 16 and is now managing director of electrical contractors, R&I Electrical in Tottenham. He currently has four apprentices on the books, 2 of them are about complete their apprenticeships with JTL.

Keith is committed to supporting apprentices and encouraging young people to see the opportunities in the construction industry. However, he expresses concerns at the attitude of young people today. He says:
“Society has changed since I was training. Kids have to be prepared to start at the bottom and work their way up. If they do that they will reap the rewards in an industry that really needs them.”

Further case study examples throughout the UK are available for comment and interview upon request.

Background to JTL

JTL is the leading training provider to the building services engineering sector and offers Advanced Apprenticeships in electrical installation, plumbing, heating and ventilating and engineering maintenance.

The JTL apprenticeship schemes are open to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 and are an ideal entry route into the building services engineering sector. The Advanced Apprenticeship allows young people to: develop practical on-the-job experience, ‘earn as they learn’, and achieve a National Vocational Qualification at Level 3, a qualification highly regarded by industry and Government alike.

JTL is a local company with a national reach and operates in 10 regions across England and Wales: North West, North East, York & Humberside, Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands, East, London, South East and South West. Anyone interested in learning more about apprenticeships can log on to:

For further information and all press enquiries please contact:

Sally Bowles or Emma Greig at JBA PR on 020 8875 5460 /

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