New apprenticeship aims to solve bricklayer shortage

June 27, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
New apprenticeship aims to solve bricklayer shortage

Following an independent review that called for 15,000 more bricklayers to solve the housing crisis, two new high-quality apprenticeships, focusing on bricklaying and plastering, have received final sign off from the government.

The apprenticeships will launch in September and offer apprentices a wide range of knowledge and hand-skills over a longer duration.

The new high-quality apprenticeships were developed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and a range of employers, including many members of the HBF who were heavily involved in finalising the training standards to improve the quality of skills and volume of apprentices entering the home building sector.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said, “These higher quality construction apprenticeships have the potential to help solve the construction skills crisis. The bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships were designed by employers which will ensure they produce the tradespeople they need. This not only benefits the employers but also the apprentices who will be arming themselves with a wider range of skills for their future careers.”

Berry added, “This increase in quality will lead to an increase in quantity. Over 70% of construction SME bosses say they would be more likely to train an apprentice if the quality of apprenticeships improved. The construction industry is not meeting its apprenticeship targets currently and this uplift in quality will help encourage students, teachers and parents alike to properly consider a career in construction.

“We’re expecting up to 4,000 apprentices to enrol on the bricklayer apprenticeship every year and up to 1,500 apprentices to undertake plastering each year. These numbers are significant and as the reputation of these new standards grows, we hope to see the numbers increase. As such, this new bricklayer apprenticeship will also help meet the ambitious targets set out in the Letwin Review for 15,000 new bricklayers to be trained over the next five years. We are urging colleges across England to offer these new bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships from September this year.”

Following Sir Oliver Letwin’s recent review of housebuilding, in which he identified a shortage of skilled labour, in particular bricklayers as a major constraint on future housing supply, the new apprenticeships aim to play an important part in attracting and training more bricklayers into sector.

Julian Weightman, builder and Chair of the Bricklayer and Plasterer Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group, said, “These new apprenticeships will produce bricklayers and plasterers who are broadly skilled and are able to work for large and small construction firms alike. Although the process of developing these apprenticeships has not been particularly speedy or straightforward, we are delighted with the end result. I feel certain that the introduction of these two new apprenticeships will drive up standards in our industry.

“This will certainly make more SME employers likely to train an apprentice and will help us meet the Government’s target of three million new apprenticeships by 2020.”

The CITB will work with employers and colleges to promote the apprenticeships and ensure they are ready for delivery in September.


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