FIS has secured £1.5 million of CITB funding to support plans to bring 1,500 new entrants into the finishes and interiors sector by 2020. FIS has also committed to registering 31,000 new CSCS skills cards in trades servicing the finishes and interiors sector.

Helen Yeulet, FIS skills delivery director, revealed the plans at a special conference in Birmingham last month. Delegates heard that the FIS Fit-Out Futures programme will drive a sector-wide campaign to tackle the skills shortages, a lack of new entrants and difficulty in accessing quality training.

Ms Yeulet explained: “The Fit-Out Futures programme is built around three core strands. Firstly, BuildBack, which will target unemployed people to get them trained in drylining and in employment. Secondly, there is the FurtherEducation to Employment Programme, which focuses on engaging students to be the next generation of construction. The target is to bring 1,500 new entrants into the sector from these sources by 2020.

“At the heart of the third strand is Sector Engagement with a focus on getting a fully carded workforce by 2020 by liaising with employers, students and the industry. The target here is for 31,000 candidates to have been registered for any CSCS card that is relevant to the fit-out sector.”

The news came just a month after CITB confirmed that it was withdrawing from direct training.