The year-on-year decline in construction apprenticeships threatens the UK’s ability to ‘build back better’ from the coronavirus pandemic, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the Department for Education’s apprenticeship and traineeship data released today.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Decisive and timely action must be taken by the Government to reverse the sharp fall in construction apprentices. 3,500 fewer apprenticeships started is not a record to be celebrated as we approach National Apprenticeship Week, and as construction seeks to do its bit to build back better. The Government must act urgently on the reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, and give employers a greater voice in determining local skills needs, while strengthening links between employers and colleges.”

Berry concluded: “As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and implement the UK’s new points-based immigration system, skills and training in key sectors, such as construction, should be at the forefront of policy makers’ minds. As local builders train 71% of apprentices in the industry, they must be at the heart of plans to bring in the next generation of tradespeople, in a sector already facing a well-documented skills shortage.”

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.