Hundreds of young apprentices dropped out of their studies and employment following the collapse of construction giant Carillion, new figures confirm.
Some 163 construction trainees left education, employment and training altogether after Carillion was declared insolvent, despite a £3million government effort to keep them in work.
A further 149 left their education programme to look for other work elsewhere.
The figures from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), obtained by HuffPost UK, reveal that 70% of Carillion’s 1,148 apprentices were moved to alternative programmes or jobs.
Many of those assumed to have dropped out could not be contacted by the CITB, which is linked to the Department for Education, following the collapse.
Carillion – which struggled under a mounting debt pile – was believed to be “too big to fail” before it went under a year ago in January 2018. It held huge public contracts, from Ministry of Defence deals to multi-million pound NHS works, but was criticised by MPs for “recklessness, hubris and greed”.
“The mystery is not that it collapsed, but that it lasted so long,” they said at the time of its collapse.
Most of Carillion’s contracts have since been taken on by its rivals.
The government was expected to spend around £3m to find new work for the apprentices affected, according to the National Audit Office.
At the time of the collapse, the government refused to offer reassurances that apprentices would not lose out.
Trade unions said the fact young workers were in fact affected shows the “direct human misery” caused by the firm’s demise.
Unite’s assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said: “These are really important figures as they demonstrate the direct human misery and loss of talent caused by Carillion’s collapse.
“At a time of acute and growing skills shortages in the construction , the loss of any apprentices further severely weakens the industry…