The FMB believes firmly in supporting businesses that invest in the future workforce by taking on and training apprentices. Apprenticeships combine practical on-site training with off-site learning so a good balance of technical skills and workplace experience is achieved. The FMB is also committed to addressing the industry’s serious skills shortages by encouraging more prospective new entrants of all backgrounds to consider a career in construction.
Construction Skills Shortage
The construction industry is in the midst of a skills shortage. If we do not attract more new entrants into the construction sector, we will not be able to sustain the increase in construction growth that we have seen over the past five years. Without more construction apprentices, we will not be able to deliver the new and refurbished homes, schools, hospitals, energy and transport infrastructure which our society so desperately needs.
As a key driver of economic growth, representing a turnover of £370bn and employing 3.1 million people, this industry’s skills crisis will also have serious implications for the wider economy.
The FMB is taking the lead in addressing the skills crisis by leading the successful development of two high quality apprenticeship standards in bricklaying and plastering and by supporting the Government in its development of the forthcoming T Level qualifications.
The impact of Brexit on construction skills
Research shows that 9% of the total UK construction workforce was born in the EU, and that this proportion rises to one- third in London. Following the Brexit referendum, the FMB brought together the leading trade bodies in construction to agree and publish a Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto which set out the industry’s position on skills and migration in a post-Brexit Britain. The manifesto calls on Government to ensure that the industry does not face a ‘cliff-edge’ in terms of access to skilled EU workers.
Diffusing the skills time bomb
The FMB believes that the industry must take a leading role in addressing the current and expected future shortfall of skilled workers. One of the most effective ways of doing this will be to increase the number of construction apprenticeships. Small firms train two-thirds of all construction apprentices, so it is vital that we understand any barriers they face.
The FMB’s 2015 research report “Defusing the skills time bomb: Boosting apprenticeship training through construction SMEs” examined the barriers to small construction firms training apprentices and made a number of recommendations to the Government, CITB and the FMB itself regarding how we can remove these barriers.