With the support of CITB, FIS has relaunched the flagship Fit-out-Futures programme targeting a more consistent and effective approach to attracting and introducing new starters into the finishes and interiors sector.  Changes to the programme enable FIS to extend the successful BuildBack project (which has over the past 18 months given induction training and employment opportunities to over 800 individuals who were previously long-term unemployed), using the principles and learnings to support key target demographics:

  • Young people not in education, employment or training
  • Unemployed
  • Ex-military service leavers
  • Full-time learners (particularly those studying for construction and built environment diplomas).
  • We are also interested in those people retraining in construction.

There are two key elements to this work.  A structured assessment and induction programme for finding and embedding new starters and a clear work-experience framework that supports employers in finding and managing work trials, connecting employers with college learners.  The programme is also looking at addressing diversity across the key target groups. 

FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated, “Fit-out-Futures focuses on the way we attract and induct people, it is built on the principle that if we start people right we will reduce what is now a quite horrific waste of time and resources invested in training.  In interrogating where people start and how they flow through our industry, there are clear areas of waste.  The fact that, whilst we recognise we have a skills shortage, almost 70% of students currently studying a construction related course in college will never work in the industry is mind-blowing.  We also know that if we don’t assess and induct people effectively, we end up wasting time and money training people who have no future in our sector. 

We learned a lot through BuildBack and in working with our Approved Training Providers in phase one of Fit-out-Futures, but it became ever clearer that to put a real dent in overcoming our skills shortage we need marginal gain across all groups entering our sector.  This project will help to integrate a more consistent induction for new starters to the broadest cross-section of new starters, so they get a better feel for the industry they are joining and have clearer understanding of competency requirements and opportunities.  Through Fit-out-Futures we are also interrogating what attracts and turns people off when it comes to the way we introduce them to the finishes and interiors sector, we want to understand where we get it wrong so we want to do it better.

Another key part of the project is how we engage with colleges, we all allowed this vital relationship to slip away and now colleges often feel apart from rather than a part of our sector.  We have engrained relationships with FE Colleges and other key training providers into Fit-out Futures to ensure that we understand the issues from all angles”

FIS are now calling for employers, trainers and assessors to get involved.  Collaboration and partnership are at the heart of the FIS strategy.  FIS is well placed and open to developing key relationships across main contractors, housebuilders, local authorities and agencies providing the basis for excellent reputation across all areas of the industry. In delivering Fit-out Futures Version 2 FIS will manage and deliver all strands and options end to end working with all parties, delivering a seamless experience and making it as easy as possible for employers to take on new entrants and for new entrants to get skilled and employed.

Fit-out-Futures is a critical part of the wider FIS Competency SAKE work, where we continue to work to support our sector in raising levels of competency and attacking skills shortages within the sector.

To find out more about how you can benefit from Fit-out Futures visit our website at:

www.thefis.org/skills-hub/fit-out-futures/ or email us at skills@thefis.org