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New apprenticeship standards signed off by government

The apprenticeships have been designed by employers which will ensure they are producing the tradespeople they need

New higher quality bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships have received final sign-off by the government, after a rigorous development process.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “These higher quality construction apprenticeships have the potential to help solve the construction skills crisis. The bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships were designed by employers which will ensure they produce the tradespeople they need. The apprenticeships are longer in duration and cover a broader range of knowledge and hand-skills. This not only benefits the employers but also the apprentices who will be arming themselves with a wider range of skills for their future careers.”

Berry concluded: “This increase in quality will lead to an increase in quantity. Over 70% of construction SME bosses say they would be more likely to train an apprentice if the quality of apprenticeships improved. The construction industry is not meeting its apprenticeship targets currently and this uplift in quality will help encourage students, teachers and parents alike to properly consider a career in construction. We’re expecting up to 4,000 apprentices to enrol on the bricklayer apprenticeship every year and up to 1,500 apprentices to undertake plastering each year. These numbers are significant and as the reputation of these new standards grows, we hope to see the numbers increase. We are urging colleges across England to offer these new bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships from September this year.”

Julian Weightman, builder and chair of the Bricklayer and Plasterer Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group, said: “The new bricklayer and plasterer apprenticeships were shaped by employers in the construction industry. This ensures that apprenticeship training actually reflects what’s required in the workplace. These new apprenticeships will produce bricklayers and plasterers who are broadly skilled and are able to work for large and small construction firms alike. Although the process of developing these apprenticeships has not been particularly speedy or straightforward, we are delighted with the end result. I feel certain that the introduction of these two new apprenticeships will drive up standards in our industry. This will certainly make more SME employers likely to train an apprentice and will help us meet the government’s target of three million new apprenticeships by 2020.”

Anne Milton MP, apprenticeships and skills minister, said: “I am delighted the new high-quality apprenticeship standards have been approved. Designed by employers, the standards will give apprentices the skills that the construction sector needs. Construction is a growing and important sector and I have met young people as well as people changing careers going into this industry. I am delighted that the quality these apprenticeship standards bring will be embedded in our construction sector.”

Sir Gerry Berragan, chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships, said: “As sector specialists, the Bricklayer and Plasterer Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group really understood employers’ needs, and they’ve worked hard to include the skills and experience that would best serve both employers and apprentices in these occupations for the future. Ultimately, these apprenticeships will produce well trained, skilled employees who can add significant value and help their organisations thrive.”