Travis Perkins welcomes the publication of the All Party Parliamentary Group’s (APPG) SME House Builders report on improving skill levels and delivering more apprentices, including those entering the sector for the first time, or joining the industry at any age after career changes or breaks.
The report follows a call for evidence from the APPG to ask how the UK can boost its delivery of improved skills and more well trained and motivated apprentices in order to help in the delivery of the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes a year.
The APPG’s views have now been captured in a report, supported by Travis Perkins, published this week and launched at the House of Commons.
The report findings include the move to Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the new way of approaching projects and the need to embrace new technologies and innovation, which can have the dual benefits of being both more efficient and carbon zero, such as electric vehicle charging points and air source heat pumps, which extract heat from the air to heat buildings and water.
These new technologies identify the need to upskill the workforce to prepare for a constantly evolving industry, as well as sustainability needs. Sustainable building practices are becoming increasingly important as the UK transitions to net zero.
Apprenticeships have proven to be a vital route in creating a pipeline of talent for the future. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the overall numbers of apprenticeships in construction, although there are signs that this is starting to recover; the most recent data published in January of this year shows that there were 14,900 new apprenticeship starts in construction in August-October 2021. At the same period in 2020, there were just 8,200 starts, compared with 11,700 in the year before the pandemic.
Promoting the benefits of a career in construction and showing how the industry is now safer, cleaner and more modern was also identified as vital for the future health of the sector.
An opportunity was identified for builders and local colleges to work more closely together as their ambitions are extremely similar – to produce an industry of skilled tradespeople. Early intervention at schools, especially in careers advice, where apprenticeships are not always a focus and are often seen as secondary to university.
There is also a need for the Government to make better use of social media as a way of winning the hearts and minds of potential younger employees.
Kieran Griffin, Managing Director of Travis Perkins, says, “We are passionate about helping to build better, more sustainable communities, to enrich lives for generations to come. We are on our own journey to ensure we are developing and modernising our skills with around 1,000 colleagues enrolled on apprenticeships on 40+ programmes across the Travis Perkins Group, helping us attract and retain a more diverse workforce. By also providing these apprenticeships via the Builders Merchants Federation, we also see it as a responsibility to contribute to developing talent for the broader construction sector.
We welcome the findings of the APPG to address the current skills deficit, as part of our mission to do what matters for the trade.”
Andrew Lewer MBE, MP, Chairman of the APPG comments, “The findings of this report are critical to enabling us to build the type and volume of houses the nation needs. The report is also critical to enhancing the appeal of working in building and construction as a well-paid, fulfilling career for more of the brightest, best and hardest working of our young people.”
With thousands of roles and transferable skills, construction is the most expansive career choice for any learner – the challenge is to help inspire the next generation of builders to join the industry.