Improvements to the vocational education system will help address skills gaps in construction and support local builders to train, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) following the Government’s publication of the ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Enhancing apprenticeship opportunities in the construction sector is vital if we are to ‘build back better’ from the coronavirus pandemic, and local builders must be at the forefront of these plans. The White Paper’s intention to create greater parity of esteem between vocational and academic education is an important first step, and will encourage more young people into apprenticeships. Plans to strengthen the links between employers and colleges will also help builders, and is a measure that the FMB has been calling for in recent years. Measures such as College Business Centres will provide greater support to employers new to training. While it is important to reflect on the way apprenticeships are delivered, I continue to believe that a high quality placement with a local business that is invested in supporting that person, will lead to the best outcomes for all.”

Berry concluded: “It is welcoming to see the White Paper’s ambitions for employers to be better integrated into the development of Local Skills Improvement Plans. Through this, construction businesses will be given a greater voice to advocate for training in occupations that are in short supply. Aligning training opportunities with local, and future, skills needs will create better employment outcomes for young people. This approach can better enable the construction sector to support both the UK’s journey to net-zero and our economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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.