TRADITIONAL trades could be in danger of dying out.

Many employers are concerned that if the issue isn't tackled soon, there could be a major skills shortage. A cooper made national headlines recently when he revealed he couldn't find anyone to carry on his profession after he retired.

Elsewhere, workshops are crying out for bench hand joiners. And other trades, passed down by generations, are also being hit by of the skills no longer being carried on into the future.

On the flip side, Graham Binns at YTA Training and Assessment, in Bradford, which launched in 2006 offering fast track construction courses, says they are keeping busy with many people seeking alternative careers after being faced with redundancy or simply wanting to try something different.

"We see people aged 35 to 45 who are being told to go on a course, get a qualification and I can throw you work," says Graham, referring to the fact that there is a demand to be met when it comes to seeking certain skills.

Joinery, plastering, plumbing and tiling are the skills they offer and they are being taken up by many, including women either wanting to learn basic maintenance skills or seeking a career change.

Conscious of a potential skills shortage, Graham doesn't know the answer as to why young people may not be coming into a trade but he hopes many will consider construction as a career.

"A large percentage of the construction industry is aged between 50 and 60. In the next 10 years we will lose such a great percentage of workers as they come to retire, but not the same amount are going in to off-set the amount retiring," explains Graham.

Martin Lofthouse, a lecturer in construction at Bradford College, believes one explanation could be that there may not be the amount of work available as there was many years ago due to companies struggling following the recession.

He also ponders whether some companies may be more hesitant at taking on younger workers who haven't got as much experience but believes the key may be incentives for employers to take on apprentices.

Mike Frank, course tutor for HE and BSC Honours in construction management also at Bradford College, is concerned about a potential gap in the management level too.

He estimates that 40 per cent of construction managers will be leaving the industry within the next few years due to retirement.

Mike believes the recession had a part to play on the current situation. "It is the recession. It always hits the construction industry. It is the first to go into recession and the last to come out and people tend to shy away from it as a job," he says,

Attitude is another issue. Mike believes that many of today's young people want to earn money quickly rather than be committed to learning a skill longer term.

"The problem we have is if you haven't got the skill set you won't have buildings built correctly," explains Mike.

"These apprenticeships, as wonderful as they may sound, will not be a final solution to the problem. We will have to look at something else."

According to latest statistics, young people are making on average around 2,000 starts a week to Government work experience or the training element of a sector-based work academy.

There were 337,000 starts to work experience or pre-work training delivered as part of a sector-based work academy by 18 to 24-year-olds between April 2012 and May 2015.

This comes on top of the latest employment statistics, showing the number of young people claiming unemployment-related benefits has fallen every month for more than three-and-a-half years.

With the youth claimant count is at its lowest level since the 1970s, Ministers are launching the ‘WE can’ campaign, to match employers and young people for valuable work experience and pre-work training.

‘WE can’ is being supported by 12,000 young people across the country and 84 ‘Youth Ambassadors’ from Youth Experience UK, giving tips about setting up work experience placements.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “As a one nation Government, we want every part of Britain to benefit from a growing economy and everyone who works hard to get the opportunities they need to succeed.

“That is why we have massively expanded our work experience scheme to give our talented young people the confidence they need to get that first crucial step on their career ladder.

“I’m always being told you can’t get a job without work experience and you can’t get work experience without a job. Now with thousands of young people moving into work experience or training every week, this should definitely help.”

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