APPRENTICES in the construction industry who have been laid off during the recession are set to benefit from \u00A31m of funding. The money has been secured by ConstructionSkills, the UK's sector skills council for construction, from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), and will help support construction companies that take on apprentices who were laid-off in the final year of their training. Companies that are able to provide suitable apprenticeship employment to these displaced apprentices and support them until their training is complete will be eligible to apply for financial support of up to \u00A31,000. For employers who are registered with CITB-ConstructionSkills, this comes on top of the funding which may be available through the grant scheme. Funding is available for those in the last 12 months of their apprenticeship and it is hoped that at least 800 additional construction workers of the future across the UK will benefit from the money. The \u00A31m was secured from the NAS to act as an incentive for even more employers to support the ConstructionSkills apprenticeship matching service (AMS), which helps employers hold on to their apprentices or, when this is not possible, matches displaced apprentices with new employers. Of the 101 displaced apprentices on the company's books in the East of England, 22 per cent having already been re-employed. Following the news of the funding boost, ConstructionSkills and the NAS are calling on even more employers in the East of England to commit to taking on an apprentice. "Our apprenticeship matching service has been a huge step forward for the industry, helping to retain as many of the next generation of workers as possible," said Georgina Bill, apprenticeship manager for ConstructionSkills East of England. "It is absolutely imperative that we do all that is possible to retain the talent within the industry, in a concerted and co-ordinated effort, to try and prevent a skills shortage. It would be a real shame if these apprentices, especially those who are so close to the finish line, were lost to the industry.