Almost 350 Carillon apprentices to lose wage support

Nearly 350 former Carillion apprentices will have their wage support cut off next month after being made redundant.

The government’s official receiver overseeing the liquidation revealed yesterday that 356 people will be leaving the business, 341 of which are apprentices.

It means attempts to find new work for nearly a third (30 per cent) of the 1,148 trainee bricklayers, carpenters and builders left jobless in the wake of the collapse of the outsourcing giant have failed.

Unite the Union described the decision to dump them as an “act of crass stupidity” whilst also attacking the government’s timing – as the announcement was made after Parliament went into recess preventing MPs from raising concerns.

But the Construction Industry Training Board, tasked within finding the out-of-work apprentices new employers, has promised that it will continue to offer a “tailored support package” for all those affected.

This will include a weekly contact via social media highlighting suitable apprenticeships, access to career events and personalised support with job seeking skills and CV preparation.

The official receiver has been paying the wages for the out-of-work apprentices ever since January 15 when Carillion went into liquidation. It was revealed in June that keeping the trainees gainfully employed cost the government £3 million.

The CITB told FE Week in April that over 800 of the apprentices had been found either new work or education providers.

The Department for Education said today that 777 of them had been found new employment with wages.

Skills minister Anne Milton revealed two weeks ago that 147 of the affected young people had not engaged in the CITB’s attempts to contact them.

It is for these apprentices and the others still trying to find work that will feel the full brunt of Carillion’s collapse and no longer have their wages paid.

“This is an appalling way to treat these apprentices who should have become the backbone of the industry,” said Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail.

“To dump them and to destroy their training is an act of crass stupidity. 

“These actions highlight the government’s total failure to assist the workers who have been most affected by Carillion’s collapse through no fault of their own.

“The government could have used its procurement power to find placements for these apprentices but it chose not to, demonstrating that it is not serious about dealing with the skills crisis facing the industry.”

The official receiver’s update yesterday said: “Regrettably, 356 people will be leaving the business as their roles are no longer required but support is available to help them find new work.

“Staff have been professional throughout the liquidation and we will continue to engage with staff, their elected representatives and unions as arrangements are confirmed.”