Construction must be made a strategic priority for life learning, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the Prime Minister's speech today outlining an expansion of post-18 education and training.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Government intends for us to ‘build, build, build’ our way to economic recovery, but the construction industry is facing a skills shortage which is hampering our ability to do so. One in three builders can’t hire a bricklayer and one in four can’t hire general labourers. The Government is right to invest in further education, but it should focus on the building trades as a priority.”

Berry concluded: “The Government’s pledge to review and reform apprenticeship training is very encouraging provided it can lead to more local builders training more apprentices. This should mean forging stronger links between SMEs and colleges so that they have access to the communication and support that they need. Extra funding for colleges needs to include ringfenced funds for them to employ industry liaison officers who could act as a conduit between the colleges, students and employers to help join up the dots.”

Notes to editors

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level.

The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed. The FMB is committed to raising quality in the construction industry and offers a free Find a Builder service to consumers. 

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