News

Steve to Fight for Construction Academy

(November 15, 2011)
Steve & Schoolkids

A LEADING Aintree apprentice school for youngsters hoping to go into the building trade is threatened with closure.

The National Construction Academy, in Aintree, is in talks with its staff about shutting down later this month, blaming the economic downturn for a slump in the industry.

The organisation said it was hoping young people currently in training at the centre would be found places on courses run by other organisations.

Unless alternatives can be found, around 80 people a year will miss out on the training.

Today city leaders said they were still confident that building apprenticeships would continue in Liverpool despite the likely closure of one of the flagship training schools.

But Walton MP Steve Rotheram said the news was “worrying” and he would be working to try to find ways to rescue the Waring Road site.

Colin Stott, director of the National Construction Academy, said: “The North West was particularly hit by public spending cuts and recent forecasts show the construction industry will see a slow recovery through to 2016.

“It is for this reason that we have had no option but to enter into consultation with staff regarding the proposed closure of our construction academy in Aintree.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and follows three years of hard work trying to make the centre work for the benefit of our staff, learners and the community.”

The centre was originally set up by Big Brother winner Craig Phillips a few years after he won the first series of the TV show.

It was then bought up by construction firm Carter and Carter, whose chief executive Philip Carter was killed in 2007 when his helicopter crashed after taking off from John Lennon airport.

The training school was later taken on by the Newcastle-based National Construction Academy.

Mr Rotheram, who helped Craig set up the project, said: “It is not the only provider for construction training in Merseyside so it is worrying if they are saying it is because of the downturn.

“We know the sector is flatlining, but it may pick up in the next 12 to 18 months. The people who are training now are the ones who are hopefully going to quality by the time it picks up.

“It would be disappointing if any of those are denied opportunities.”

Cllr Nick Small, cabinet member for employment and skills, said: “We are working at the moment with Construction Skills to come up with a shared apprenticeship scheme within that sector across the city.

“This remains a big priority for the council.”

Read More http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2011/11/15/national-construction-academy-in-aintree-to-close-due-to-industry-slump-100252-29776606/#ixzz1e3BtqPuk

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