Wherever you look, there’s a national skills shortage across the finishes and interiors sector. In the Federation of Master Builders’ most recent survey, 22 per cent of employers said they struggled to find plasterers. According to the Construction Industry Training Board, the industry needs more than 216,000 new entrants in the sector by 2025 in order to meet the demand for commercial and residential building. Demand for interior fit-out is high.

London is also changing. In some parts of the capital, offices are giving way to homes. In other parts major regeneration programmes are upgrading the quality of homes, particularly across local authorities’ social housing stock. It’s not hard to see why the average building undergoes 30 interior fit-outs during its lifetime.

At the London Progression Collaboration, we’re on a mission to tackle the skills gaps that exist across London and create good-quality, well-paying employment for Londoners. In the case of the construction industry, that means getting more people into the sector, but it also means supporting existing employees to upskill and progress in-work.

As an employer, it’s not always easy to step back. The day-to-day demands can easily take over, there are lots of barriers preventing employers upskilling their workforce, and it takes time to navigate the apprenticeship system. Our one-stop shop is designed around that context. The London Progression Collaboration is on hand to make it as easy as possible for employers to upskill and has enabled employers that have never taken on apprentices to begin to do so.

In the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve created over 1,000 apprenticeships. Hundreds of these have been in the construction sector. We work closely with large employers – from developers to builder’s merchants to international infrastructure firms – who want to fund apprenticeships across the sector. And we support small- and medium-sized employers’ access that funding.

So, if you’re an employer that needs advice and guidance to navigate the apprenticeship landscape, or you need funding to cover the cost of an apprenticeship standard, we’ve got you covered. And the best part about it is that we’re a free service for everyone.

To find out more about apprenticeships and the eligibility requirements to access apprenticeship funding, email Jack Shaw, Senior Account Manager at the London Progression Collaboration, on jack.shaw@ippr.org.