A change in the attitude towards apprenticeships is necessary for the plumbing sector to meet anticipated demand, online plumber search provider WaterSafe has said.

Although employment levels are at an all-time high, particularly in the construction domain, there are still 943,000 young people in the UK who are not in education, employment or training (Neets), according to an Office for National Statistics document released in May 2015.

The consensus among trade associations is that the issue is predominantly one of a nationwide skills shortage, particularly when it comes to the trade sector. Currently, one in ten jobs in Britain is in construction, but many are outsourced to sub-contractors from overseas, with companies finding the UK skillset insufficient to meet demand.

WaterSafe provides a searchable online database of qualified plumbers that work for Approved Contractors Scheme-member companies.

Julie Spinks, director at WaterSafe, said: “It is a travesty to think that we have so much opportunity in the UK trade industry yet so many young people are still out of work.

“The issue is clearly one of a lack of investment in apprenticeships whereby, as a result of the tough recessional years, trade businesses simply haven’t had the money or resource to invest in training new starters. However, this is something, as an industry, we must address – and rapidly – or face simply not having the resources to fulfill our construction goals.”

Most recently the government announced its Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill, which sets out to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020 by providing young people with the support, skills and experience they require to realise their potential.

“It is great to see the government pledge more commitment and funding to apprenticeships. After all, they are the lifeblood of any trade and vital to boosting productivity and enhancing our skills set as the sector continues to thrive. And of course, we would urge any apprentices starting out in the plumbing sector to register with WaterSafe once they have their qualifications,” said Ms Spinks.

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