Skills Shortages

The finishes and interiors sector provides employment to around 250,000 people in the UK, annual recruitment to sustain this workforce is estimated to be over 2,500 workers.  Changes in the immigration system means recruitment of domestic workers must increase by around 300% over the next 12 months – the infrastructure and processes to deliver need time to scale up and evolve.

FIS has repeatedly raised concerns that the points based immigration system fails to recognise core trades as “skilled workers”, lacks flexibility and has not factored in the impact of COVID on “shortages” in the sector.   It is not currently equipped to support evolution in the sector.

By July 2021 61% of FIS members were reporting shortages of skilled workers, particularly in the areas of Dry lining, Ceiling Fixing, Carpentry and Joinery and Plastering.

The latest FIS Statement and submission to the Home Office on Skills Shortages can be viewed here
Access the FIS Right to Work Toolkit here

How the FIS and its community are attacking Skills Shortages

FIS is running a number of programmes to help attack the skills shortage in the finishes and interiors sector.  They need your involvement:

Take on a new starter 16-24 year and access generous funding with FIS Kickstart

FIS work on the Kickstart scheme is taking off with over 100 vacancies now confirmed.  We are providing a free support to encourage members to offer a six-month job placements to 16-24 year olds.

As well as helping to identify and recruit the perfect candidate for your business, generous funding through the Government’s Plan for jobs covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week (including National Insurance and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions) and an additional £1,500 to support training.

Accessing Kickstart through FIS means we do all the heavy lifting and our support is FREE TO MEMBERS.  If you are interested in taking on a Kickstarter contact Catherine on 07900 083325 or email

For more information on FIS Kickstart click here

Find and induct the next generation of dryliners with a FULLY FUNDED FIS BuildBack Programme

Through the FIS BuildBack programme, businesses have the opportunity to run fully funded drylining training camps.  

FIS BuildBack includes a recruitment and assessment process, two weeks of induction training and even funds the tools, HS&E Test and provisional CSCS card needed for the two week work placement that is built in.  The entire programme is fully funded and light touch for employers, FIS and our trainers do the heavy lifting.

We have cohorts running across the UK and more planned, so if you want to get involved and look at offering work placements get in touch.  If there is nothing local in the pipeline, for cohorts of 10-15 plus we can set up a bespoke BuildBack, but even if can’t offer this many placements, we can liaise with other local employers to build that critical mass.

There is no obligation to employ at the end, the programme supports engagement via CIS and full support is given to assist with supporting the candidate through to a vocational qualification if appropriate.    

To get involved in BuildBack and find out about candidates or running a local cohort contact Catherine on 07900 083325 or email

For more information on BuildBack click here

Additional Note:  FIS can also introduce you to candidates who have had recent basic drylining training through BuildBack and are available for a work-placement and possibility of ongoing work with you.  All candidates have tools, PPE, have completed the mandatory HS&E training and hold a provisional CSCS card.   

To find out more about offering a (fully funded) work placement to these candidates contact Marie on 07799 903103 or email

For more information on BuildBack click here

Ex-military candidates trained through FIS BuildBack ready to start work for you NOW

Working with Building Heroes the FIS BuildBack programme now has 120 ex-military candidates, with recent basic drylining training available for work-placements across the UK.  All candidates have tools, PPE, have completed the mandatory H&S training and hold provisional CSCS card.  Can your organisation offer a two week work placement to help these candidates get started in our sector?  Placements are fully funded (there is no cost to the employer).  For more information contact Marie on 07799 903103 or email

For more information on BuildBack click here

Need help to upskill your workforce or to check you are getting all the funding you are entitled to?

FIS members can access a range of specialist courses, VQ Funding offers and exclusive training discounts.  Why not book a FREE FIS one-to-one Skills and Funding Clinic to ensure you are accessing all the funding available to support your efforts.

Thinking of taking on an apprentice? FIS is here to help

Apprenticeships are key to building the pipeline of skilled workers in the Finishes and Interiors Sector.  With a range of apprenticeships available and funding support from both Central Government, Local Funding and the CITB complex to navigate, FIS can offer FREE specialist one to one support help you to work out your options, recruit candidates and identify training providers who can help you to get started or keep going.  See our Apprenticeships – Guidance for Employers for more information, email Apprentice Help! with your contact details to or simply call FIS on 0121 707 007

Work Academy focused on Drylining

Work Academy focused on Drylining

Sector Based Work Academy - West London College  Registration - Friday 22nd September, 10am Starts - Monday 25th September, 10am Location - Southall Community College , Beaconsfield Road, Southall, UB1 1DP What we are asking members to do is to support with the work...

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