New apprenticeship standards are a welcome boost, says FMB

Posted On: 
13th March 2017

Apprenticeship standards in construction are set to increase following the Government’s approval for two new apprenticeships in bricklaying and plastering, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, 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 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. Research by the FMB shows that two-thirds of construction SMEs believe that the overall quality of construction apprenticeships has decreased during the past 30 years. Furthermore, over 70% of small construction firms would be more likely to train an apprentice if the quality of construction apprenticeship standards were improved. 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.”

Berry continued: “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.”

David Kehoe, Technical Support and Training Representative at British Gypsum, said: “This is the best thing to happen to the plastering industry for a number of years. British Gypsum is pleased to welcome this new plastering apprenticeship, which will raise the standards and quality of tradespeople within our industry. The FMB is to be congratulated for bringing together employers to develop the new standards and this will improve the quality of training delivery for apprentices coming into our industry.”

Jenny Herdman, Director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said: “The Home Building Skills Partnership is pleased to have worked alongside the FMB to develop an apprenticeship standard that promotes the skills of the bricklayers we need to meet the Government’s target for increasing housing supply.”

Sarah Beale, CEO at CITB, says: “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.”