Unite, the UK’s construction union, has described the decision by the official receiver to make redundant 341 Carillion apprentices as an act of ‘crass stupidity’. 

The decision to make the apprentices redundant was made just as Parliament went into recess last week, preventing MPs from raising concerns at the decision. 

Carillion collapse 

When Carillion collapsed in January it employed 1,200 apprentices and following the company’s demise the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has found suitable placements for over 800 of the affected apprentices. 

The decision to make redundant the remaining apprentices is a further blow to the construction industry which is in the depths of a deep seated skills crisis. In 2016/17 there were just 21,010 people on construction apprentice courses, the decision to make the remaining Carillion apprentices redundant reduced the entire UK’s apprenticeship numbers by 1.6 per cent. 

Apprentices axed 

The axing of the apprentices once again demonstrates the government’s failure to deal with the collapse of Carillion. As the UK’s biggest construction client the government could have used its procurement power to ensure that all of Carillion’s apprentices were found suitable new placements. 

Crass stupidity 

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This is an appalling way to treat these apprentices who should have become the backbone of the industry. 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 dismissal of Carillion’s remaining apprentices once again demonstrates that the construction skills crisis will not be tackled until procurement rules are introduced which require that all companies undertaking public sector contracts must train apprentices.” 


Notes to editors: 

The CITB estimates that the construction industry needs 31,600 entrants every year just to stand still. 

Unite calls for training overhaul following increase in dead end construction courses 

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.