Laing O’Rourke, Britain’s biggest privately owned construction company, will create at least 1,000 apprenticeships this year, in spite of the economic downturn.

The company, which built Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and leads the consortium building the venues for the 2012 London Olympic Games, will take on at least 200 apprentices, for whom it will create specially tailored schemes. Its supply-chain partners have agreed to provide at least a further 800 apprenticeships.

In a rare interview, Ray O’Rourke, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said that Laing O’Rourke was also hopeful of attracting more graduate entrants, particularly those who might, in previous years, have taken City jobs.

The Times