Trainee builders
Over 71% of new recruits leave the building industry after just three months

With over 71% of people leaving the construction industry after just three months, the recruitment challenges across the industry continue to be one of the key issues members face.

One of the FMB’s campaign focuses is on skills and training as we recognise the need to attract and retain more people, as well as providing relevant training to the existing workforce to meet the future requirements of the industry.

It’s estimated by the Construction Skills Network that at least 250,000 additional construction workers will be needed by 2026 and a study between 2018 and 2020 by CITB found that 71% of new people leave the construction industry after just 3 months, of which 51% are dismissed and 21% resign.

With this in mind, CITB have funded a number of schemes to look to address these challenges and provide the support to both the employee and employer to help increase retention.

The FMB’s South Hub Director, Iain Kirtley, spoke with Lorraine Shepherd from Gement Connect to learn more about its Connect project and how FMB members can access support.

Q&A with Lorraine Shepherd from Gement Connect

Lorraine Shepherd (centre) and the team from Gement Connect
Lorraine Shepherd (centre) and the team from Gement Connect

Question: Hi Lorraine, great to speak with you. Could you tell me about a little bit about Gement Connect please?

Yes of course. Gement Connect is part of a fully funded CITB Commission (which began in Sept 2022) entitled 'England Construction Opportunities' ('ECO'). It allows us to offer a suite of upskilling and support services completely free (for 12 months at sign-up). As you may expect, there is criteria to access these services, we welcome those who;

  • work (or have proof of a pending job start) in a construction related occupation (six months or less in current role)
  • spend some of the working week on site.

We are made up of a team with proven construction experience, from boots-on-the-ground to management level. What's a little bit different about us is we offer bespoke one-to-one support, at a time that suits you, in a manner in which you find most comfortable (i.e., Call; WhatsApp; FaceTime; Teams etc). We are just as comfortable supporting a school leaver or apprentice, up to senior management level.

Question: What’s your role at Gement?

As an 'In-Work Project Manager', part of my role here is to collaborate with employers, training organisations, colleges, and councils to help develop communities and increase retention of the construction workforce, with the intention of providing social value and meeting Section 106 targets. The other half is to speak with candidates signing up for the programme and answer any questions they may have and offer support as required.

Question: How can this project benefit our members and why should FMB members sign up?

Our Connect programme increases retention of the construction workforce, which is critical when we are already facing a huge skill shortage (Construction Skills Network estimates that at least 250,000 additional construction workers will be needed by 2026).

Gement Connect helps to support any challenges faced by those in the construction industry, and in doing so provides social value and helps employers meet Section 106 targets.


Question: What support is available for FMB members?

All eligible workers can join the Connect programme. Services available include;

  • monthly newsletters
  • part/fully funded training tickets & courses
  • financial literacy courses (i.e., understanding payslips, HMRC, self-employment, CIS, UTR numbers etc.)
  • check in calls
  • concierge hotline 
  • mentoring

These services aim to support individuals through a bespoke plan, encouraging individuals to upskill, remain motivated in their jobs and improve employee satisfaction. 


Question: How can FMB members learn more or sign up to access support?

Feel free to take a look at our website or candidates can sign-up directly here. Our concierge hotline & support service: 020 8058 9712 (9am - 6pm) or [email protected]

You can also contact me directly: 07786 330509 / [email protected].

Question: What advice would you give to a company or an individual who may be unsure about signing up?

We wholeheartedly stand by; "there is no such thing as a silly question";

No expectations for individuals signing up, use as little or as many of the services as and when you need to over the 12-month period. Sign up is a mere 5-minute call.

(i) do not need to be CITB-registered to join. No contract. Sign up as a Partner in under ten minutes.
(ii) what's in It for you?

  • Filling in areas that are outside of the scope of Employee Assistance Programmes
  • Meeting Section 106 targets
  • Social value output
  • Saving site management, additional work and time

Question: What has been your most cherished experience in the program so far?

There are so many case studies of people we have helped but one of my favourites is a recent engagement with assisting a young person (under 25 and whom asked to be described as mixed ethnicity). He was trained to Level 3 and a CSCS card holder, self-employed and working for a residential property developer. He reached out to us primarily for help in sprucing up his CV for an interview for a construction management degree apprenticeship, and later needed guidance on interview preparation to boost confidence and performance during the upcoming selection process.

The team at Gement arranged a tailored mock interview via Zoom at a time (out of working hours, so convenient for him). Understanding his desire to enhance his skills, we also offered personalised advice and guidance on construction plant courses, accreditation, expense claims, and identification of accredited providers. We also provided insights into addressing tax return concerns. It was wonderful to see the results! The mock interview session boosted his confidence, and he expressed immense gratitude for our support and highlighted the invaluable insights gained through our monthly newsletters, which aided him in making informed decisions. For us, this is what it’s all about! Helping the construction workforce with additional support, free of charge, and making the support bespoke and convenient to each individual's needs.


Question: What are the main challenges you hear when you’re speaking to those in the construction industry

Feeling they have nowhere to turn with issues / concerns or questions. Or even just to access 1:1 support. To quote a recent candidate "Everyone at work is always so busy on site, I'm never sure if I can disturb them". Not every employee (especially subbies) is fortunate enough to have access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Here at Gement Connect, we fill that gap. We find the anonymity and assurance of confidentiality are also a major draw to our suite of free services.

Download Gement's Candidate Flyer


For more information

Contact Lorraine Shepherd  07786 330509 / [email protected] or Iain Kirtley.


Iain Kirtley

Iain Kirtley

Director, FMB South, Federation of Master Builders

With over 20 years’ experience of membership bodies, not for profit organisations and the private sector, Iain joined the FMB in August 2023 from the Chartered Institute of Building where he worked with construction companies of all sizes to support them with training, development and accreditation.