The Government is right to appoint a construction SME representative to lead the development of the construction element of its flagship new T-Levels programme, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Commenting on the Government’s announcement today regarding the new T-Levels, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “I am delighted that FMB Board member Julian Weightman has been announced as the Chair of the Department for Education’s Technical Education Panel. Julian has 18 years’ experience in the building sector and runs a small building firm in Hexham, North East England. Construction SMEs train two-thirds of all apprentices and make up 98% of the construction industry so it’s vital that the new T-Levels work for small builders. Julian is committed to increasing the quality of vocational education and over the past two years, he successfully chaired the bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeship trailblazer group. Julian will be able to bring this recent experience to the table when leading on the development of the construction T-Level, which arguably, will be even more challenging.”
Berry concluded: “One of the biggest potential stumbling blocks for the T-Level initiative will be the required amount of work experience for each young person. T-levels will rely on all on students being able to complete three months’ work experience with an employer in their second year. Given that CITB statistics show the number of young people in construction-related further education far outweighs the number of apprenticeship places being offered by employers we need to find a solution to this problem. We owe it to young people to ensure we can deliver on what we promise so this needs to be properly thought through. It’s also important that construction T-Levels dovetail with the new construction apprenticeships developed via the trailblazer process. A merger of the Department for Education’s Technical Panel with the Institute for Apprenticeships’ Construction Panel would assist this process.”