A RECRUITMENT drive has been launched to find 800 engineering construction apprentices.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has identified a need for skilled workers, so is looking to fill that gap.

David Edwards, chief executive of ECITB, said: “The engineering construction industry is in a position to be able to offer exciting and well-paid careers to young people.

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“Our latest manpower forecasts predict a 30 per cent growth over the next ten years, with 60,000 more skilled workers needed across all our sectors.

“It is vital to the future of engineering construction in this country that we raise awareness of the industry, and the available careers, with young people.”

Young people can apply for the apprenticeship from today by going on to the ECITB’s website at ecitb.org.uk/Home/ and selecting the “apply now” button.

Mr Edwards said: “The career opportunities in this industry are numerous.

“There are currently some 100,000 UK workers in the engineering construction industry in more than 170 different roles. There are good career prospects for all these roles and salaries compare very favourably with other industries.”

The minimum starting salary, once a young person has qualified as an electrician or welder, is from £23,000 to £28,000, while offshore workers, such as riggers, can command salaries up to £30,000.

Starting salaries for engineers, including design, project, welding, electrical, mechanical and instrumentation, are between £30,000 and £40,000.

Mr Edwards said: “An ECITB-sponsored apprenticeship is the best start in the business you can have.

“Our apprenticeships last between three and four years and, from the start, the apprentice is employed by one of our companies.

“In addition, the apprenticeships have been developed in consultation with our industry’s employers, which means the company the apprentice is training with, knows they need an employee with the skills the young person is learning.

“This plays an essential role in the UK economy through the design, construction and maintenance of much of the industrial processing and energy production facilities essential to the country’s prosperity and way of life.”

The UK engineering construction industry generates a £25bn annual turnover and its sectors account for up to 20 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

The next generation of engineering construction workers will play a key role in shaping the nuclear industry; developing renewable energy resources and oil and gas production in the North Sea and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.