A NATIONAL trade body is encouraging school leavers in South Wales to consider a career in the building materials industry as part of a new drive to secure 15,000 apprenticeships by 2030.
The Builders Merchants Federation, which represents building materials sector businesses across the region, says recruiting new people into the industry is a key priority for its members and the UK construction sector as a whole.
In a sign of the demand for new recruits, 11,000 new apprenticeships places have already pledged by 14 member companies nationally.
The BMF’s Apprenticeship Pledge recognises apprenticeships as a key route for the development of new talent in the sector, which offers a diverse range of roles from warehouse and storage to finance and engineering.
It comes as the Construction Skills Network revealed in its latest report that 225,000 new construction workers are needed by 2027.
John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The BMF Apprenticeship Pledge is a commitment to taking control of the skills gap and offering opportunities to new entrants in the building materials supply sector as well as laying clear pathways to progression for colleagues already working in the industry.
“The BMF Apprenticeship Pledge will highlight to potential recruits in South Wales and across the UK that they can join an industry where they will benefit from robust prospects, with plenty of options to develop, learn and excel, and join an exciting community that offers excellent prospects.”
The 14 BMF Member companies that have signed the Apprenticeship Pledge so far are:
BPS – Building & Plumbing Supplies
Bradfords Building Supplies
Browns Builders Merchants
Harlow Timber Group
Henshaws Roofing & Building Supplies
IBMG – Independent Builders Merchant Group
Kerridge Commercial Systems
Lords Trading Group
MKM Building Supplies
Merritt & Fryers
NMBS – National Merchant Buying Society
With 880 merchant and supplier companies who together have combined sales of over £44bn and employ more than 205,000 people, BMF members represent a considerable element of the UK economy.
John Newcomb added: “Building materials supply is a dynamic and interesting sector, which plays a major part of the UK economy.
“We need talented people, including school leavers and people of all ages and from all walks of life, to get involved in areas including the provision of new products to make homes more sustainable and to achieve a lower carbon future.
“There are a wealth of opportunities available and people with determination and ambition will find that their efforts are well-rewarded.
“Many companies in our membership are run by people who started out in the industry as an apprentice or in a junior role.
“They’ve benefitted from development and training to reach their potential and are now in senior positions themselves.
“Now they are looking to recruit the next generation to join the industry to build the future.”
The BMF has a unique approach to support young people employed by its members, with exclusive events, initiatives and activities that reflect the importance and value the industry places in encouraging and supporting talent.
These include a conference for younger members, fact-finding visits to international destinations and – as well as the structured qualifications route.