The Federation of Master Builders has welcomed the approval of two new apprenticeships, which will improve standards in construction
Two apprenticeship schemes have been given the green light, paving the way for greater standards in construction.
The two schemes will focus on bricklaying and plastering, two areas that have seen significant skills shortages in recent months.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the organisation that represents thousands of small construction firms, welcomed the news.
Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “We feared that the Government’s ambition to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020 would lead to an emphasis on quantity over quality.
“Today [13 March] the Government has demonstrated that it really is committed to working with the industry to increase the quality of apprenticeship training by approving these new standards.”
Confidence in schemes low
Apprenticeships are undoubtedly a pivotal part of the construction sector. Despite this, confidence in these types of training programmes remains low. According to FMB research two-thirds of SME construction firms believe the quality of apprenticeships has declined over the past three decades. Berry also said 70 per cent of SME construction firms would be more likely to take on apprentices if standards were raised.
He added: “Given that it’s construction SMEs that train two-thirds of all apprentices, the Government is right to back the FMB’s mission to increase the quality of apprenticeships.
“The Government’s Trailblazer process is all about putting control back into the hands of the employer to ensure that apprenticeship training actually reflects what’s required in the workplace.
“It is the employers – large and small – who have given up their time to shape these two new high quality apprenticeship standards and they should be commended.
“What this means is that the bricklayers and plasters of the future will have a much higher minimum skill level than they do currently.
“All bricklayers will be able to build arches and chimneys and all plasterers will be able to install drylining, and apply solid and fibrous plaster.
“These broad skills will future-proof the individuals from forthcoming recessions and ensure that we don’t lose them from the construction industry at the first sign of trouble.”
Sarah Beale, CEO at CITB, said it was a good decision by the government to approve the standard.
She added: “Approval of the bricklaying and plastering Trailblazer apprenticeship standards is fantastic news for learners and industry alike.
“They will help young people get the skills they need for successful, rewarding construction careers while ensuring the country has the bricklayers and plasterers it needs to build the many projects in the pipeline.”