CONSTRUCTION companies have said it will become “virtually impossible” to ensure that the working conditions and pay of building apprentices are regulated if a new framework governing apprentices is introduced.

The warning has been issued by a coalition of industry employers, trade associations and trade unions as plans to introduce the new framework from the start of the 2017-18 academic year look likely to go ahead.

Unite the Union said it was “extremely concerned” at plans by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to implement the framework, which proposes bringing to an end the mandatory requirement for apprentices to be registered with recognised apprenticeship registration bodies.

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These bodies are currently responsible for monitoring and regulating the working conditions, wages, recruitment and training of apprentices in the Scottish construction industry.

But the CITB defended the changes, with its chief executive, Sarah Beale, saying they would “significantly improve the delivery of apprenticeships in Scotland”.

It highlighted a new Skills Test, which has been incorporated as a formal part of the SVQ qualification, with Ms Beale saying that as skills tests are now under the quality control of the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s Regulator, “the registration bodies are no longer a compulsory part of the delivery of the SVQs”.