Nominations for Skills Development Scotland Apprenticeship Awards now open  

Nominations for Skills Development Scotland Apprenticeship Awards now open  

The SDS Scottish Apprenticeship Awards highlight the key role apprentices, supporting individuals and employers play in delivering the skills Scotland needs, both now and in the future, across the whole economy.

Award categories include:

  • Apprentice Ambassador of the Year
  • Modern Apprentice of the Year – SCQF Level 6+
  • Modern Apprentice of the Year – SCQF Level 5
  • Graduate Apprentice of the Year
  • Foundation Apprentice of the Year
  • SME Employer of the Year
  • Large Employer of the Year
  • Apprentice Instructor of the Year
  • Supporting Net Zero Employer of the Year
  • Supporting Net Zero Apprentice of the Year

Nominations close at 12pm on Wednesday 5 October 2022. The winners will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week which runs from 6 to 10 March 2023.

Nominations can be made online here: Scottish Apprenticeship Awards nominations

Nomination entry rules can be read here: Award nomination rules

Further information on can be found here: Scottish Apprenticeship Awards


Price inflation remains the biggest issue for industry

Price inflation remains the biggest issue for industry

The Bank of England has increased interest rates to 2.25%, their highest level since 2008, and ‘will not hesitate’ to raise them further to reach its target of 2% inflation. Inflation remains high at 9.9% and the latest statement from the CLC Product Availability Group confirms it is still the ‘biggest issue’ for the industry.

It is most recent strategy, CLC outlines the four priorities to transform construction ‐ Net Zero and Biodiversity, Next Generation Delivery, Building Safety, and People and Skills ‐ as well as more immediate challenges, including inflation, forward pipeline, and business sustainability.

CPA provides economic update

CPA provides economic update

THe CPA has produced an economic update which details

  • the CBI’s Industrial Trends Survey for the three months to September.
  • ONS figues for public sector net borrowing
  • Housing including the number of property transactions in the UK for August; and
  • The CPA’s analysis of the Chancellor’s Growth Plan 2022 – highlighting key policies affecting construction

FIS members can access the full information here (scroll to Weekly Notes – 23 September 2022)



CLF launches National Equity and Inclusion Plan for construction in Scotland

CLF launches National Equity and Inclusion Plan for construction in Scotland

The Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) has launched a National Equity and Inclusion Plan (NEIP) for the construction industry in Scotland to encourage the development of a more diverse and all-encompassing workforce.

Funded by Scottish Government, this latest initiative is part of a wider transformation plan for the industry giving the sector access to a wider talent pool to support growth and help to address labour shortages.

In the construction industry in Scotland 15.4% are women, and there is a gender pay gap of 23%. Some 1.6% of workers in the sector are from a minority ethnic background compared with 4.3% of minority ethnic workers in Scotland as a whole. Figures show 10.5% of the workforce are disabled, 33% of construction workforce are aged 50+ with only 2.7% of starts in Modern Apprentices female. (Figures from Annual Population Survey 2020).

The NEIP seeks to address these imbalances by mainstreaming equity and inclusion.  The Plan sets out “Six by 2026” strategic aims which the CLF commits to work with industry to achieve.  These aims include the sharing of best practices across industry, using data and industry feedback to benchmark progress, signposting to a range of resources for companies to access and development of industry-wide E&I accreditation.

The Plan was developed following an in-depth study by GenAnalytics which looked at the challenges and current state of play and what current best practice there is from inside and outside the sector. It was informed by a wide stakeholder group including E&I experts, industry and government and found that construction falls way short of equity and inclusion standards compared to other sectors and identified a number of sector-specific issues to be addressed by the Plan.

FIS CEO Iain McIlwee said:

With profound shortages in people and cultural challenges that we need to address as a sector, initiatives like this take on new meaning.  A focus on inclusivity isn’t something we should do, it is something we have to.  It starts with individual behaviour, but requires a collective effort to truly deliver change.

Business Minister and Construction Leadership Forum chair Ivan McKee said:

“I recognise that we face new economic and social challenges of an unprecedented scale. This plan aims to support wider efforts to address inequality and promote greater diversity within the Scottish construction sector to encourage inclusive growth and help address labour shortages.

Companies with better records of fair work, equity and inclusion do better, have a healthier and more engaged workforce and demonstrate greater diversity of thought. Fairness and inclusiveness encourages better relations with partners, shareholders, customers and employees.

It will help support the increased resilience of construction and reinforce wider efforts to create a more sustainable economy, in line with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

Lesley Quinn, Divisional Director, Corporate Affairs at City Building, City Building, one of the case studies featured in the report and three-time Queen’s Award winner for commitment to E&I, said:

“We have worked hard to develop E&I across our business from our 200 apprentices to our leadership team, and the results have been outstanding. There is a growing depth of best practice in and outside of the sector, so it is encouraging to see that sharing this is part of the NEIP.”

Lynsey Brydson, NEIP project lead at Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) said:

“The NEIP sets out a clear path for the sector to follow and importantly this will be benchmarked to monitor the progress that has to be made. Quick progress can be made through signposting to initiatives like the DIveIN programme run by Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) that gives free E&I training and support to construction companies.”

Emma Dickson, Technical Director at Arcadis and industry co-chair of CLF’s Skills and Workforce subgroup, says:

“It is critical that the industry takes action to be more diverse and inclusive. The plan sets out key areas that we should focus on to make that happen. Larger construction companies are making improvements, but many SMEs need tangible support to make the changes needed. The next steps will be critical to make sure this happens.”

The Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) programme is an industry-wide initiative that aims to make workplaces better for everyone. This National Inclusion Week, the Supply Chain Sustainability School has highlighted findings from its Annual Culture Report and free training and resources available to support the industry in attracting and retaining people from the full pool of talent.

Building Safety consultations underway

Building Safety consultations underway

The Building Safety Act introduces a new building safety regime which requires changes to regulations, standards and ways of working. As a result, there are a number of consultations underway, including:

  • Building Safety Regulator Fees and Charges ‐ The HSE is consulting on what the new Building Safety Regulator may recover costs for when carrying out its relevant ‘chargeable’ functions. Comments should be submitted online by Friday 7 October.
  • Occupied Higher‐Risk Buildings ‐ The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) is seeking views on the new safety regime for occupied higher‐risk buildings, including proposals for their in‐occupation phase. There are 12 sections to the consultation, including certification, reporting, resident’s duties, appeals, and key building information. Comments should be submitted online or via email by Wednesday 12 October.
  • Building Regulations ‐ DLUHC is also consulting on the changes that will be made to Building Regulations to implement the new building safety regime. There are 12 sections to the consultation, including dutyholder roles, gateways, change control process and more rigorous enforcement powers. Comments should be submitted online or via email by Wednesday 12 October.
  • Operational Standards Rules ‐ Ahead of the Building Safety Regulator beginning to operate from April 2023, the HSE is seeking views on the proposed operational standards rules which will allow it to effectively monitor building control bodies. Comments should be submitted via email by Tuesday 25 October.

New Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Simon Clarke has confirmed that there will be no change in the Government’s approach to building safety, writing in The Telegraph that he is “determined to finish the job my predecessors started, fixing the system for good, ensuring that industry rectifies the problems it created”. Clarke will be supported by Lee Rowley as Housing and Planning Minister, and Andrew Stephenson and Baroness Scott of Bybrook as Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State.

Supporting your recruitment

Supporting your recruitment

The finishes and interiors sector is experiencing shortages of trained and qualified ‘skilled’ labour at every level and there is no immediate easy fix. Employers need to invest in home grown talent and that starts with recruitment.  To support this, document provides a summary of the services on offer from the Department of Work and Pensions via Job Centre Plus, you may be surprised at the assistance available to employers all free of charge.

Job vacancies can also be advertised on the FIS Job Spot, just complete the electronic form:

Site inspections across Great Britain focus on moving and handling materials

Site inspections across Great Britain focus on moving and handling materials

Construction sites are being targeted from Monday 3 October as part of a health inspection initiative supported by the ‘Work Right Construction: Your health. Your future’ campaign.

The campaign is raising awareness of health issues in relation to moving and handling materials to improve the long-term health of those working in construction.

Site inspections will focus on moving and handling construction materials will be checking employers and workers know the risks, plan their work and are using sensible control measures to protect workers from injuries and aches, pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

An estimated 40,000 construction workers suffered work-related MSDs last year. These injuries can have a serious impact on workers’ ability to perform tasks; their quality of life; and in some cases, their ability to stay in work and earn a living. Many can and do suffer from long-term pain and discomfort.

Act now to protect workers’ health
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from ill health and should involve them in managing the risks to their health just as they would with safety.

Workers should not have to accept these injuries and potential long-term suffering as an inevitable part of construction work. They should talk to their employer about the risks and the measures in place to protect their health.

We have advice for employers, workers and small builders.

FIS Best Practice Guide for the safe ingress of plasterboard

The aim of this guide is to improve health and safety when plasterboard is delivered, moved and stored. Each stage should be planned, communicated and acted on to reduce the risk of injury and ensure a safe working conditions for everyone on site and also that the requirements of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are met.

Lens Blog: What steps FIS members can take if they are not getting paid

Lens Blog: What steps FIS members can take if they are not getting paid

FIS Consultant Len Bunton continues with the theme of getting paid, and what options are open to FIS members. These monthly Blogs are designed to help FIS Members avoid common traps and build on our focus on collective experience. 

As I have set out previously, some of this is self-induced, and that is why I have been working with a number of organisations to help them improve their financial management of contracts. I emphasise again that your payment applications need to be made on time and be fully detailed – if you fail to do either of these, or even worse, both of these, then you will not get paid what you think you are due. However, there are other actions you can take…

Members can see the full blog

FIS helping to close the information loop with SFG20

FIS helping to close the information loop with SFG20

In recent months FIS has been working with SFG20 to help improve access to guidance and support clients and facilities companies who need to maintain and manage Operable Walls.

Operating walls is commonly the responsibility of a member of staff or a maintenance crew and damage and undue wear can be caused through not fully understanding and following the operating procedure. Incorrect maintenance, such as applying grease to moving parts, can also create problems. A good service and maintenance regime, underwritten by a service agreement is therefore key to the wall’s serviceability and the welfare of those operating them. It is also a necessity to meet the requirements of any warranty and optimise service life.

In the summer FIS launched a new guide to the repair and maintenance of operable walls. To ensure that this guidance is circulated to the widest possible audience FIS met with SFG20 to look at how the two organisations could collaborate to share the information with the widest possible audience. The result is that the new guidance has been integrated into the scope of the SFG20 schedule for operable walls.

Originally launched in 1990, SFG20 is a subsidiary of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). SFG20 is a unique, mobile-enabled, maintenance system designed to support anyone who owns or manages facilities. Built around the maintenance industry’s standard, SFG20’s solution provides asset maintenance requirements in a simple and easily-digestible format, with a host of specialist tools available to support the application to assets as well as projective cost modelling.

Commenting on the collaboration, FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia stated:

“When you see the scope of content covered by SFG20 it gives a unique insight into the complexity of the FM world. It is great that we can collaborate with the team at SFG20 to ensure we aren’t producing information in a vacuum but making sure it is available and accessible to the people who have used it”.

Andi Connelly Horsley – SFG20 Technical Publications Lead, responded:

“FIS is an authority in this area and a critical source of information. We value our good working relationship with FIS and will continue to work together to help support the wider FM market in ensuring that their interior systems are maintained and managed appropriately”.

New content is now available in SFG20 maintenance schedule, 88-50 Operable Walls.

For more information on SFG20 click here

To access the FIS Guide to the Serving and Maintenance of Operable Walls click here.

Mayor Andy Street to support FIS in Midlands

Mayor Andy Street to support FIS in Midlands

FIS is delighted to announce the Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority is attending our Regional Conference in Birmingham on 19 October as a keynote speaker.

Andrew Street CBE is a British businessman and Conservative Party politician who was the managing director of John Lewis from 2007 to 2016, when he resigned to run for Mayor of the West Midlands. He won the May 2017 mayoral election and was re-elected in 2021.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become managing director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was also chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region.

Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named ‘Most Admired Leader’ by business magazine, Management Today in 2014 and received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

FIS CEO Iain McIlwee commented:

“It is great to get the Mayor along to talk to our community about prospects and pipeline in the region and also a great opportunity to help him to see our sector and the amazing work that is done across the region.  Andy will be joined by other experts speakers helping us to look at pipeline, compliance and how the sector is changing.  This is one of a number of Regional Events taking place across the UK, starting with our AGM on 6th October”

You can book your place at the FIS Regional Event in Birmingham here.

The FIS AGM is taking place on 6 October and is featuring contributions from Peter Rogers CBE, co-founder of Stanhope, founder-Chairman of the UK Green Building Council and developer of complex projects such as Broadgate and 22 Bishopsgate.

Programmes for Manchester (9 November) and Scotland (1 December) are to be announced in the coming weeks.

Update regarding the bank holiday arrangement for the Queen’s funeral

Update regarding the bank holiday arrangement for the Queen’s funeral

As the nation enters a period of national mourning, arrangements are being made for our late Queen’s funeral. King Charles has made an order that the day of the Queen’s funeral will be a bank holiday. Whilst employers will want to make their own decisions about how to mark the occasion, it is important to also consider what rights employees have in relation to this additional bank holiday.


Citation has provide guidance for FIS members on employees rights to the extra bank holiday.

CROSS Safety Report Issued for SFS

CROSS Safety Report Issued for SFS

CROSS has issued a report associated with missing fixing straps on Light Gauge Steel Framing Systems which may affect fire performance.  This report references guidance issued by FIS earlier in the summer.

CROSS (Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures) is a unique reporting scheme sponsored by The Institution of Structural Engineers, the ICE, the IFE, and the HSE. Its purpose is to share lessons learned from structural and fire safety issues and help prevent future failures – by providing insight into how safety issues occur and spurring the development of safety improvement measures.  All information available through CROSS is free.

Under the new Building Safety Act the Building Safety Regulator is required to appoint a person to establish and operate a system for the voluntary reporting of information about building safety.   This function is currently being fulfilled through CROSS, which has been extended to include fire safety, in addition to structural safety, within its remit.  Reporting through CROSS is confidential.

FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia commented: “CROSS perform a vital role in this new era for safety.  We cannot afford to bury concerns, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we share vital information to help ensure that mistakes are not buried in projects, but learnings shared help improve our wider deliver of safer buildings.  We look forward to working more closely with CROSS in improving safety in our sector and the wider built environment”.

Full details of the alert are available here.

CPA releases UK Economic and Construction Update

CPA releases UK Economic and Construction Update

The latest weekly update from CPA is available to members here.  The updated issues are in Pages 1-6 of the weekly update whilst subsequent pages have existing data and information that remain relevant. This update includes:

  1. UK Government Energy Price Guarantee (September 2022)
  2. S&P Global/CIPS UK Construction PMI (August 2022)
  3. ONS Building Materials Prices (July 2022)
  4. Barratt Developments Annual Results (September 2022)
  5. Vistry Group Half-year Results (September 2022)

    Market Data

    FIS has access to a wide range of market data from sources including the CPA, Barbour ABI and Builders’ Conference. In addition, FIS produces a state of trade survey specifically for the finishes and interiors sector.

    Update regarding the bank holiday arrangement for the Queen’s funeral

    CLC writes to Royal Household to express condolences on behalf of the industry

    Following the sad news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the CLC has this morning written to His Majesty The King and The Royal Household, to express condolences on behalf of the industry.

    A copy of the letter is below, and is also available on the CLC website

    The Private Secretary to His Majesty The King
    Buckingham Palace
    London SW1A 1AA


    I write to you as the Industry Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council to offer condolences on behalf of our sector following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

    In a lifetime of public service, Her Majesty dedicated herself to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Her selfless commitment to duty was reflected in the admiration in which she was held, both here in the United Kingdom and globally. We know that for millions of people who work in our industry, Her Majesty will have been a central and consistent figure in their lives, a respected monarch whose legacy will inspire future generations.

    Today, our thoughts are with the Royal Family and all others affected on this saddest of days.

    Yours faithfully,



    Mark Reynolds
    Construction Leadership Council

    IUA publishes new fire safety clause for high rise repairs

    IUA publishes new fire safety clause for high rise repairs

    Projects to tackle fire safety risks on high-rise residential buildings have been boosted by the publication of a new model insurance clause covering fire safety risks. The wording has been developed by the International Underwriting Association (IUA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for use in work being completed under the government’s £4.5bn Building Safety Fund. It will help speed up the removal of unsafe cladding, encourage a greater safety culture within the construction industry and provide insurers with increased confidence in risk management processes employed by the construction sector.

    The model clause is freely available for use by underwriters looking to provide professional indemnity insurance for building cladding remediation work. The Building Safety Fund was introduced in order to cover the cost of such refurbishment work on high rise residential blocks over 18m.

    Levelling up Secretary, Greg Clarke said: “Our priority is making sure people’s homes are safe and that safety standards are high.

    “Alongside our tough new regulatory regime, this new clause that has been developed with my department will help us do just that.

    “We welcome the work of the IUA and the underwriters who are taking a proportionate approach to fire safety cover and I thank insurers in advance for using it.”

    Chris Jones, IUA Director of Legal and Market Services, said:

    “Our new model clause sets out a number of key risk management processes that will ensure work being carried out is conducted within recognised industry standards. This will help improve accountability for safety measures and foster an investment in quality construction.

    “The market for construction professional indemnity insurance has been difficult in recent years, reflecting concerns about the potential for historic liabilities to develop into future claims following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Each new risk must continue to be assessed on a risk-by-risk basis, of course, but the clause should provide underwriters with greater confidence to offer effective insurance solutions for future work.”

    A survey of IUA members in September last year revealed a cautious willingness amongst IUA members to underwrite fire safety risks on new projects to remove defective cladding from high rises. Around two thirds of respondents stated they would provide a limited form of cover, whilst a further 4% were happy to offer unrestricted protection.

    The poll was carried out by the IUA’s Construction Professional Lines Working Group which was established in 2019 to encourage greater engagement between insurers, government, regulators and construction firms.

    Copies of the IUA Building Safety Fund Cladding and Fire Safety Limited Exclusion and Aggregation Clause are freely available to download at

    Any questions or comments related to this clause should be fed to Iain McIlwee, ( who is representing the FIS Community on the Construction Leadership Council’s Insurance Working Group

    Pool of trained dryliners soon to be available in Birmingham and London

    Pool of trained dryliners soon to be available in Birmingham and London

    FIS member Construction Helpline has secured a contract to deliver a series of Department for Education funded Skills Bootcamps in drylining occupations, fixer, boarder and finisher to be delivered between 26 September and 31 March 2023. The Construction Helpline program involves pathways for unemployed and self-employed people located in London and Birmingham.

    The objective of the unemployed pathway Skills Bootcamps is to introduce the individuals to drylining by the provision of six weeks training.  For this pathway Construction Helpline are looking for employers who are willing to provide a two week work trial for successful candidates (there is no cost to the employer), followed by an interview for a drylining vacancy for a minimum employment contract of 12 weeks.  If the candidate is taken on by the employer, the Skills Bootcamp includes a free level 2 vocational qualification registration with the NOCN Awarding Body and the necessary health and safety and CITB training for a CSCS card, which will be issued before the work trial.

    The self-employed pathway is for labourer subbies wishing to upskill to level 2 dryliners.  This pathway is one week of training plus three practical training weekends and 2 theory Saturdays.  The pathway also includes level 2 vocational qualification registration with the NOCN Awarding Body.

    Construction Helpline Skills Bootcamp Dry Lining Courses are scheduled for:

    1. Mon 26 Sep – Fri 4 Nov 2022
    2. Mon 7 Nov – Fri 16 Dec 2022
    3. Mon 9 Jan – Fri 17 Feb 2023
    4. Mon 20 Feb – Fri 31 Mar 2023

    If you are an employer with drylining vacancies between Nov and May 2023 and you would like to support the Construction Helpline on delivering this programme please call Melissa Fileppi on 0207 199 9808 or email

    If you would like to see more detailed information on curriculum and dates, please click here

    Are you claiming CITB Grants for training subbies?

    Are you claiming CITB Grants for training subbies?

    An employer is able to apply for grants in respect of construction industry related training undertaken by:

    • directly employed staff (including apprentices) on the payroll;
    • sub-contractors (both net and gross-paid); and
    • sole traders and partnerships.

    Provided the individuals are working at the time of the training for the employer making the application and that CITB grant support has not already been received for the particular training and/or qualification.  An employer may authorise third party training providers and/or colleges providing services to the employer to complete a grant application on their behalf.  Where the employer so authorises, the responsibility to ensure that applications are made in accordance with the Grants Scheme terms and conditions and to repay any grants received as a result of an error by the third party remains with the employer.  The employers construction industry levy payments must be up to date.  If your allowing training or qualification assessment of your sub-contractors on your jobs or sites, regardless of how the training and/or qualification is being paid for find out what they are undertaking and claim the Employer grant.

    To apply for grant, applicants should visit CITB’s website.  The requirements specific to each grant type should be checked prior to submitting an application as some grants operate restrictions.  If you are unsure please contact Marie Flinter 07799 903103 or email