NMBS calls on employers to recruit more apprentices

Ethan Edwards, an apprentice at Silverton Builders Merchant

The National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS) is calling on employers in the builder’s merchant sector to take advantage of government funding to re-skill staff and onboard new recruits through apprenticeships as it marks this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

National Apprenticeship Week is to take place from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 February.

The government provides up to 95% funding for employers to hire someone new or upskill an existing employee, allowing them to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

NMBS is working with construction apprenticeships specialist LEAP to train scores of builder’s merchant apprentices each year to help address the skills gap in the construction sector.

The apprentices are distributed across NMBS member companies, such as Gardner and Scardifield, Yard Direct and Silverton Builders Merchants.

According to a statement, NMBS has been a key player in supporting the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) ambitious pledge to have 15,000 apprentices across its membership by 2030. This initiative, launched in June 2023, aims to address the skills gap in the building materials industry and maximise the use of levy funds across the sector.

Dean Hayward, head of sales and marketing at NMBS, said: “Our apprenticeship recruitment drive is making a significant contribution to addressing the skills shortage in the construction industry and represents a strategic investment in the future.

“By welcoming fresh talent and enhancing the skills of experienced staff, apprenticeships not only secure fulfilling careers for individuals but also deliver substantial benefits to employers. Through apprenticeships, employers save on recruitment costs and foster diversification across teams, leading to increased retention rates and heightened staff satisfaction.”

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimates that 225,000 workers will be needed by 2027 to meet industry demand, making apprenticeships a crucial component of the solution.

One example of the success of this recruitment campaign is 18-year-old Ethan Edwards from Colchester. Ethan joined Silverton Builders Merchant in Colchester as an apprentice in September 2023, seeking training and work experience without the potential financial burden of university education.

Ethan’s day-to-day activities involve loading and unloading vehicles, picking and packing orders, serving customers, and processing invoices. Ethan acknowledged the crucial role played by his mentor, Jonathon Hill, in supporting him and building his confidence throughout his apprenticeship.

Ethan said: “I feel that I am building a strong foundation for my future career, and that I have a lot of options and opportunities ahead of me.”

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