That is according to the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT), which stated that the economic downturn has had a huge impact on the sector.
Figures compiled by CITB-Construction Skills show that since 2008, the number of young people entering the industry has more than halved.
George Guy, acting general secretary of UCATT, said that the nature of the work involved means many people retire before the age of 65, meaning it is essential to replenish the workforce with fresh talent.
"The free market approach to construction apprentice training has been a complete and absolute failure ... unless the government forces employers to recruit and properly train apprentices, numbers will continue to fall," he added.
According to the Totaljobs Barometer, construction industry recruitment is up 22 per cent in 2011 compared to last year.