Training! How do I find out what qualifications are needed to get on-site? Where can I find the right course? How can I claim back grant from CITB? Who delivers the training I need in my area?  What skills do I need if I want to do something  different? Helen Yeulet, skills delivery director for FIS, highlights how the answers to these questions can be found in the new online FIS Skills Hub.

The Stockerl report highlighted the need for the answers to the  questions above to be made easily and centrally accessible to all  workers within the finishes and  interiors sector. Along with the new FIS website in September came Skills Hub (, which is being developed to deliver all of this information – and more. Skills Hub is the sector’s one-stop-shop for anything contractors need to know about training and careers.

The new FIS Skills Hub

The government’s change in  approach to education is increasing uncertainty around the skills arena for the sector and having a direct impact on both qualifications and the funding to deliver training. With this in mind, the need to train has become even greater.

FIS has developed Skills Hub to provide access to the most suitable training courses while also  supplying information on how to claim grant back or access any additional funding that may be available in your area. Along with highlighting job vacancies, Skills Hub also provides detailed explanations on what is required for particular roles within the sector, looking at the qualifications needed and what it’s like to do the job on-site.

The managing director of training provider Now Get Qualified, Dan Plosky, has been exploring this new FIS information resource. He highlighted: “The user-friendly Skills Hub area provides instant access to useful FIS training and membership links. Members can view industry news as well as potential funding opportunities to see how they can be used to support apprenticeships and upskilling of their team.

“Careers information on getting started within the finishes and interiors sector allows users to gain valuable insight into the different job roles available. Users can then locate and book training through the Find a Course section, which leads them directly to the new FIS CourseSight training platform.”

Dave Hall, British Gypsum’s  National Technical Academy  manager, commented: “Skills Hub will support the drive towards a qualified workforce within the finishes and interiors sector. With the impending closure of Construction Related  Occupation (CRO) cards forcing people to find the qualification that relates to their trade, we have witnessed an increase for Interior Systems (Dry Lining Finishers) NVQ Level 2 qualification.

“Now that Skills Hub provides dates for assessments and  experienced worker practical assessment routes for this  qualification, it is even easier to simplify the route, which can often be a minefield for employers who want to qualify their workforce.”

Working to close the skills gap

It is common knowledge that the skills gap is the single biggest issue in the finishes and interiors sector today, and FIS is seriously  committed to investing to make a difference and close this gap over the next two years. Skills Hub will be the place to go for anyone in the sector looking to access the new services provided by FIS. Whether trying to recruit an  apprentice for the first time – find the right person, the right college,  understand how to mentor and access the maximum funding –  or making sure that you and your team have the right level of  qualifications to be on-site,  Skills Hub will provide the  information required.

Helen Tapper is finance director at fit-out specialists Tapper Interiors and a member of the FIS board. She commented: “FIS is investing heavily in the area of training to secure relevant direct funding from the CITB and help members locate the best training for their companies and obtain the grants required to carry out this training.

“A centralised system of course information, course location, pricing and funding – as Skills Hub delivers – is such a bonus for busy contracting companies and industry professionals alike. It saves time and resources and gives the confidence that all information is relevant and up to date.

“Training is the backbone of the sector and will help all members to invest in their workforce and, in turn, help the sector to thrive.”

FIS is keen to ensure that Skills Hub is continually developed to meet the needs of the sector and is looking for people who will be prepared to share their ideas on an ongoing basis. If you’re keen to be involved, please email