From education to employment

Task force to look at ways of increasing number of qualified apprentices in the construction industr

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is heading up a cross construction industry initiative to help the 10,000 young people on construction courses who cannot find the work placements they need to finish their training and obtain their required National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

Geoff Lister, President of the FMB, is to head the new “Cross Industry Construction Apprenticeships Task Force”, which will consider solutions to increase the number of fully qualified apprentices entering the construction industry over the next four years.

The launch of the Task Force is timely, following the Government’s recent pledge to overhaul apprenticeships and provide financial backing for every child who aspires to an advanced apprenticeship.

Geoff Lister said, “The problem in the construction sector is not the shortage of applicants, but rather the shortage of employers willing to take them on. We want more construction companies to follow the lead of FMB companies, 22% of whom employ at least one apprentice and lead the industry in their training support.”

Lister continued, “The problem is that at almost £12,000 in the first year alone, the cost of taking on an apprentice is considerable, and the benefits to the firm are not realised for a number of years. If we want to encourage more employers to take on this responsibility, and give our young people the opportunities they need by providing them with training and experience, the construction sector and the Government must look at realistic ways of offsetting the attendant costs.”

The FMB is also concerned that Britain’s current skills training falls short of standards elsewhere in the world; a concern highlighted by the UK’s recent performance at the World Skills Championships in Japan in November.

Lister warned, “It was shocking that in several categories, Britain was unable to enter skilled apprentices who were qualified to compete on a world stage. It is vital that we act now to achieve a fully skilled training culture across the whole industry or there will not be enough construction crafts people to meet this country’s future demands.”

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