Builders’ federation to create new training standards

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The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has received Government approval to develop new apprenticeships for the construction industry.

FMB will draw up standards in bricklaying and plastering as part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) Trailblazer programme.

The scheme aims to work with businesses to develop vocational training in a number of industries.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said the organisation will ensure the qualifications reflect the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as large businesses.

He said: “These standards will be driven by a group of SME employers and will require the apprentice to learn general skills as well as their specialist trade. The courses will reflect a US university degree where a core subject backed by a “major” in a discipline, he said.

“In our case, apprentices will become “Master Builders” with a major in either bricklaying or plastering.

“That way, by the time they complete their apprenticeship, they’ll have a much more well-rounded set of skills plus their chosen specialist trade which they can deploy when working for an employer of any size.”

He added: “We’re committed to working with the Government on improving the quality and quantity of apprenticeships as both elements are key if we are to address the construction skills time bomb.”

While the Government has set an “ambitious” target of three million apprenticeships in this Government, industry should “never compromise on quality”, Mr Berry said.

Nick Boles MP, skills minister, said the trailblazer programme means “apprentices graduate with the skills they need for the job they want and businesses get the talent they need to grow”.