A 16-year-old boy who survived a seven-metre fall at a construction site on Thursday was part of a group training scheme for students to undertake an apprenticeship while still at school.
Questions remain whether the boy - who suffered multiple fractures - was adequately supervised immediately before he fell at the site where the new Coles Supermarket is being built in Amaroo.
Master Builders ACT Kirk Coningham said the boy was one of their KidsAssist apprentices - a program that has helped more than 500 kids get their lives on track in the past 14 years.
He said this was the most serious accident that has occurred in the program's history but the boy would be covered by its insurance.
"No incident like this should occur on a worksite. We're working now with WorkSafe to make sure they get all the information they can, we'll let them do their full investigation first but the key thing for me is what are the lessons that can be learnt, how do we stop happening something like this happening again, that's absolute front of mind for everyone right across the industry now," Mr Coningham said.
But CFMEU secretary Dean Hall called the Master Builders' scheme "glorified body hire".
"They hire them out at cheap rates and often not for the tasks they're there to learn. We have evidence he was hired to a company that passed him onto another contractor to do work. He had been on the job for five days and on the worksite for two. Where's the obligation from Master Builders to keep him safe?"
Mr Hall said the union had abandoned its own group training scheme due to safety concerns.
"Group training schemes are set up to make money. Because of that it leaves apprentices open to risk and abuse of them doing tasks that have nothing to do with their apprenticeship," Mr Hall said.
"The union no longer has a group training scheme as it turns out poor tradespeople and is an extremely dangerous model."
However Mr Coningham said the assertion that the scheme was making them money was laughable.
"This is a life-changing project. We've had people involved with the program at 15 and 16 who were in trouble with the law - and I'm not saying this particular individual was, he is actually a really good kid - and it's turned them around and they've become apprentices and 10 years later in the trade have hosted their own KidsAssist apprentices," Mr Coningham said.
"[The scheme is] subsidised by Master Builders' members, we recognise what an important project it is, the ACT government has some payment into it and others, but basically the sentiment we're making money out of this is completely ludicrous. It's a very expensive program to run but we're very committed to it."
WorkSafe ACT commissioner Greg Jones said no concerns about group-training schemes had been raised with him.
However he said the WorkSafe investigation would home in on the level of supervision, or lack thereof, given to the apprentice.
"He should have had immediate supervision. I'd like to remind contractors and builders to take care of their workers, make sure all of the safety measures are in place, all voids are covered, scaffolding is secured and checked by an engineer and that all apprentices are briefed and supervised. With such serious injuries there could be serious action taken."
Slater and Gordon solicitor Martin Carrick said the training organisation and the employer had a shared responsibility to supervise the boy.
"Someone who is so young and inexperienced needs to be supervised and trained. In particular the supervision needs to be really thorough and without knowing what's happened in this particular case I would express some concerns about the degree of training and supervision given in circumstances where a person who is so young is put in a position where this can happen,"Mr Carrick said.
The ACT Education and Training Directorate was approached for comment.