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Apprenticeships: Waterways

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether apprenticeships are available in (a) canal boat building and (b) canal and inland waterways maintenance. (114835)

Lantra is the sector skills council which leads on environmental conservation skills, including inland waterways maintenance. Boat building skills issues are addressed by the Science and Engineering Sector Skills Council (SEMTA). SEMTA works closely with the British Marine Federation (BMF) which designs apprenticeships in the marine industry covering boat building, maintenance and repair. The BMF is working with employers in the sector, for example through the Midlands Marine Alliance, to establish a specific canal boat building apprenticeship route. This is expected to become available during 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department has taken to boost skills in industries and vocations associated with canals and inland waterways in each of the last five years. (114836)

The Government have established the Skills for Business Network comprising the Sector Skills Development Agency and 25 Sector Skills Councils. Sector Skills Councils take a strategic view of skills needs in their sector to plan how those needs will be met. Boat building is covered by the Science and Engineering Sector Skills Council (SEMTA) while Lantra is the SSC which leads on environmental conservation skills, including inland waterways maintenance. SEMTA became fully established in 2003 and Lantra in 2004.

Working with partners such as colleges, employers and funding bodies, SEMTA has developed a Sector Skills Agreement for the marine industry sector and is implementing measures addressing management and leadership skills, productivity and competitiveness, technical work force development and manpower planning. As part of its Sector Skills Agreement, Lantra has also been working with employers and partners in the environmental conservation industry to develop an action plan to raise skill levels and maximise investment in work force development. British Waterways is one of the organisations that has expressed its commitment to delivering the plan’s objectives.