The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has welcomed news that apprenticeship standards in construction are set to increase following the Government’s approval for two new apprenticeships in bricklaying and plastering.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Today the Government has demonstrated that it really is committed to working with the industry to increase the quality of apprenticeship training by approving these new standards (for plastering and bricklaying). The Trailblazer process is all about putting control back into the hands of the employer to ensure that apprenticeship training actually reflects what’s required in the workplace.

“It is the employers – large and small – who have given up their time to shape these two new high quality apprenticeship standards and they should be commended. What this means is that the bricklayers and plasters of the future will have a much higher minimum skill level than they do currently. All plasterers will be able to install drylining, and apply solid and fibrous plaster. These broad skills will future-proof the individuals from forthcoming recessions and ensure that we don’t lose them from the construction industry at the first sign of trouble.”

David Kehoe, technical support and training representative at British Gypsum, said: “This is the best thing to happen to the plastering industry for a number of years. British Gypsum is pleased to welcome this new plastering apprenticeship, which will raise the standards and quality of tradespeople within our industry. The FMB is to be congratulated for bringing together employers to develop the new standards and this will improve the quality of training delivery for apprentices coming into our industry.”

Sarah Beale, chief executive at CITB, said: “Approval of the bricklaying and plastering Trailblazer apprenticeship standards is fantastic news for learners and industry alike. They will help young people get the skills they need for successful, rewarding construction careers while ensuring the country has the bricklayers and plasterers it needs to build the many projects in the pipeline.”

Research by the FMB shows that two-thirds of construction SMEs believe that the overall quality of construction apprenticeships has decreased during the past 30 years. Furthermore, over 70% of small construction firms would be more likely to train an apprentice if the quality of construction apprenticeship standards were improved.