§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to fund the training of apprentices to ensure sufficient stonemasons and woodcarvers are available to maintain buildings of the National Heritage.
§ Miss Widdecombe
The prime responsibility for ensuring sufficient availability of vocational skills rests with employers in a particular sector, and training and enterprise councils enable employers to manage Government training initiatives in a way which supports local priorities. Funding from youth training and youth credits already supports some apprenticeships which might not otherwise exist, and the modern apprenticeships816W announced in the Budget will be an opportunity for a major increase in the number of apprenticeships available across the economy as a whole.
Employers of stonemasons are in scope to the Construction Industry Training Board—CITB—a statutory body which is empowered to levy employers to enable collective funding of training. From its income, the CITB disburses training grants to employers to ensure that high-quality training takes place.