Apprenticeships to be the focus for new FMB president

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The new president of the Federation of Master Builders has pledged to put apprenticeships at the heart of his agenda

Gary Lewis, the new president of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), will pay particular focus to apprenticeship during his tenure, he has stated.

Lewis was elected national president during the FMB’s annual conference on Saturday. He said apprenticeships were important to him and would be a key part of his agenda.

He said: “I’ve always been extremely passionate about passing on my knowledge to the next generation and ensuring that we have enough skilled workers in the construction sector.

“My own firm is one of the many thousands of SMEs that provides broad-skilled apprenticeships. Indeed, two-thirds of all construction apprentices are trained by SME firms like mine.

“FMB members are already playing a pivotal role in improving the quality of apprenticeships through the development of two new Trailblazer standards in bricklaying and plastering.

“However, root and branch changes to apprenticeship policy are on the horizon with the implementation of the new government apprenticeship levy and the corresponding reforms to the CITB levy.

“These fundamental changes could make or break the quality and quantity of apprenticeship training and therefore it’s vital that the FMB ensures that the new system works for smaller firms. If it doesn’t, we could risk exacerbating the construction skills crisis.”

Arthur McArdle was elected national vice-president.

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