Managing and mentoring young people in your business

Managing and mentoring young people in your business

The recent FIS regional events identified the challenge of retaining people in apprenticeships and training to the point of successful completion, it is estimated approximately 30% of those who start construction apprenticeships do not complete.  There are a number of reasons for this, but key is ensuring that we have the management processes and support mechanisms in place to support young people in our businesses.  It is widely acknowledged that organisations that have dedicated coaches and mentors experience higher retention rates across all levels of the workforce, but this isn’t easy to implement and there hasn’t been enough support and training to help.

The Strategic Development Network (SDN), a team of leading specialists in apprenticeships, technical education and workforce development has been working with Government and Industry Bodies to address this concern.  SDN are hosting a one hour webinar on the role of the line manager and mentor on the 31 May.  The focus will be on hosting young people in the workplace who are engaged on government backed schemes that prepare them for work, T-Levels and Traineeships, potentially the finishes and interiors sectors future workforce.

Here are the details:

The role of the line manager and mentor – hosting young people in the workplace – 31 May 2022, 2-3pm

In this 1-hour webinar, SDN will cover:

  • The role of line managers throughout the placement
  • Creating a mentoring culture and identifying suitable mentors
  • Setting up an effective mentoring scheme – supporting young people to succeed in the workplace
  • Staff development – mentoring, coaching and interpersonal skills
  • Case study insights from those already offering industry placements
  • The government support available to help you

There is no charge for this session. You can register your place here

FIS look forward to seeing you online.

Skills Bill clears way for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to unify system

Skills Bill clears way for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to unify system

Somewhat in the shadow of the Building Safety Bill, new laws were also passed on Thursday through the Skills and Post-16 Education Act that will help transform the skills and training landscape and level up opportunities across the country.

The Skills and Post-16 Education Act is to level up and drive economic growth across England, making Green skills and careers advice in schools a priority.  The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) have been tasked to create a unified skills system which is simpler to understand and employers and learners can really trust.

While much attention has been paid to level 3 qualifications and careers advice, the act gives the secretary of state a host of new powers over the FE and skills sector.  For example, the secretary of state now has legal powers to designate and remove designation of employer representative bodies (ERBs) responsible for developing local skills improvement plans (LSIPs).  They also have powers to introduce “statutory guidance” to tell ERBs who they should consult with and what should go in to their LSIPs.

The lifelong loan entitlement now also has some statutory underpinning.  The flagship policy to provide loans with four years of post-18 education for modular and full qualifications at levels 4 to 6 is set to come on stream in 2025 and is currently out for public consultation.

Another of the secretary of state’s new powers is to introduce an official list of approved post-16 training providers along with new conditions for registration and restricting access to funding to providers on that list.

The act introduces new duties on college governing bodies to review and publish how their education and training offer is meeting local skills needs.  The secretary of state gains new powers to use the intervention system where providers are failing in this duty.

The Institute for IfATE gets powers to approve and withdraw approval for technical qualifications under the act.

Skills to support the growing green economy will be prioritised to create a workforce for jobs now and in the future, and schools will be required to make sure all children get to meet people that provide technical education routes such as apprenticeships, T Levels or Traineeships, opening their eyes to a wide range of careers.

The legislation will help economic recovery and growth by making it easier for people to train to get the skills they need to secure well-paid jobs in industries with skills gaps, such as construction, health and social care, engineering, digital, clean energy and manufacturing.  It will also give more people the opportunity to get jobs in their local areas, by requiring employers and colleges to work together to identify the skills needed within communities.

The Act underpins the government’s transformation of post-16 education and skills as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper and will help level up and drive growth across the whole country.  Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said, “The Skills and Post-16 Education Act will transform the skills, training and post-16 education landscape and level up opportunities across the country.  This legislation will make sure everyone can gain the skills they need to progress into a rewarding job, and businesses have access to a pipeline of talented, qualified employees for their workforces, boosting productivity.”

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, which leads with implementing the government’s employer-led technical education reforms, said,

“Following passage of this landmark legislation, we can look forward to creating a unified skills system which is simpler to understand and employers and learners can really trust. IfATE has empowered employers to drive up the quality of apprenticeships and roll out exciting new T Levels. The time is now right to extend the employer-led reforms across technical education.”

Key measures introduced by the Act include:

  • supporting the creation of a unified skills system that builds from quality gains achieved with Apprenticeships and T Levels by ensuring all technical qualifications match up to employers’ high standards;
  • embedding employers in the heart of the skills system by placing a legal requirement on colleges and other providers to work with employers to develop skills plans, so that the training on offer meets the needs of local areas, and people no longer have to leave their hometowns to find great jobs;
  • making sure all pupils meet providers of technical education so that they understand the wide range of career routes and training available to them, such as Apprenticeships, T Levels or Traineeships, not just the traditional academic options;
  • prioritising green skills so the training on offer across the country meets the needs of the growing green economy and helps gets more people into jobs;
  • supporting the transformation of the current student loans system so from 2025 learners an access a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college, useable at any point in their lives;
  • introducing new powers to intervene when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve; and
  • making it a criminal offence to provide, arrange or advertise essay mill services for financial gain to students taking a post-16 qualification at institutions in England including colleges, universities and sixth forms.

Employers in eight trailblazer areas across the country have already been working with local training providers to create skills plans that align to what local communities need.  These plans are now being rolled out across the country, opening up more opportunities for people to gain the skills they and businesses need to succeed.  The new measures build on the work already under way to boost skills and get more people into better jobs, including working with employers to create more Apprenticeship opportunities, establishing a network of Institutes of Technology and rolling out new T Levels.

George Swann FIS Skills and Training Lead said,

“FIS is listed on the directory od professional and employer lead bodies with IfATE to monitor the quality of apprenticeship End Point Assessment for the sector.  This puts FIS employers front of house for the initiatives published through the Royal Assent of the Skills and Post-16 Education Act.  We will continue to work with IfATE and provide information advice and guidance to FIS members on all things skills”

Application deadline for £3,000 apprentice incentive payment extended

Application deadline for £3,000 apprentice incentive payment extended

The deadline for applying for the incentive payment has been extended until 20 May 2022.

Employers who hired a new apprentice between 01 October 2021 and 31 January 2022  who had an apprenticeship start date between 01 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, could be eligible for the £3,000 incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice. To receive the payment, employers must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using their apprenticeship service account.

For more support with employer applications please see:

  • how to apply guide including when to apply, steps to take before applying, how to apply and what happens after applying.
  • guidance page including eligibility, how the payment can be used and when payments are made.
  • how to apply video including a walkthrough of the steps to take within the Apprenticeship service:

When applying for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice, employers must make sure they have:

  • added the correct PAYE schemes, that they use to pay their apprentices, to their apprenticeship service account, in line with the service terms and conditions
  • only applied for eligible apprentices and they have documentation which can validate their claim, as listed in the apprenticeship funding rules
  • checked their training provider has the correct National Insurance Number for each of their apprentices, and that they have included this in their funding submissions

If the information is incorrect, this will delay incentive payments.

If you need any further information please call FIS on 0121 707 0077 or email

CLC’s Construction Skills Plan for 2022 – more growth, new challenges

CLC’s Construction Skills Plan for 2022 – more growth, new challenges

The Construction Leadership Council has published an update to its sector-wide skills plan for construction and the built environment. This year CLC is focussing its efforts around four strategic priorities with a spotlight on creating the right culture change and broadening diversity.

1. Improving access to opportunities for all
2. Boosting all routes into industry
3. Ongoing collaboration to develop competence frameworks
4. Preparing for the future of construction

FIS Skills and Training Lead George Swann, said:

The Construction Leadership Councils updated Skills Plan is encouraging as it’s very clearly aligned to the current work of FIS. If you attended one of the regional events you will know the focus is on recruitment, retention, social responsibility, competence and funding.  We know the labour market is tight and the sectors employers are in competition with other construction sectors and other industries to recruit and retain a talented workforce, to succeed there must be a combined and consistent approach, the finishes and interiors sector employers must continue to work together.

To realise the strategy CLC are asking construction industry employers to:

  • Employ and support an individual to complete an Apprenticeship
  • Transfer your Apprenticeship Levy to another construction business
  • Embrace T-Levels and offer an industry placement
  • Offer a Traineeship work experience placement
  • Provide a Work Experience or Taster opportunity
  • Share your skills and teach in further education
  • Post vacancies on Talent View Construction
  • Support local Skills Bootcamps and Training Hubs
  • Adopt the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme
  • Become a Construction STEM Ambassador

George added:

Information, advice and guidance is available on all of these points from FIS, either online at or if you would like to talk through options for recruitment, retention, social responsibility, competence and funding telephone 0121 707 0077 or email

The updated skills plan will ensure the construction sector can achieve joint goals by setting out clear commitments for industry, government, and employers.

Industry can get behind the plan by supporting the initiatives, including Apprenticeships, T-Levels, Traineeships, Skills Bootcamps and Talent View Construction.


Supporting employers with industry placements

Supporting employers with industry placements

The Department for Education and SDN are currently planning what support is put in place for employers over the coming months to help understand, prepare for, and host industry placements.

Industry placements are a fundamental part of the government’s reforms to technical education (T Levels). It gives students a period of structured time in the workplace (315 hours / 45 days), developing real skills and making a meaningful contribution to the organisation.

A quick survey has been designed to capture views and insights from employers, to plan the right support at the right time in 2022 and beyond. It is crucial that this support responds to your challenges and support needs as we emerge from the pandemic, and as T Levels are rolled out.

We’d really appreciate your input into this, it should take no more than five minutes to complete:

George Swann, FIS Skills and Training Lead said:

T-Levels are new courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels.  These 2-year courses, which launched September 2020, are for 16 to 19 year olds and have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study.  T-Levels offer sixth form students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 45 days.  This survey is looking to identify the support employer will need to host a T-Level student, things like, training and/or support for coaching and mentoring, financial support, health and safety information and/or legal responsibilities.

Apprenticeship standards review

Apprenticeship standards review

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) have published the findings from the construction route review.   The report sets out how apprenticeships, T Levels, Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), and further training will keep pace with the sector’s fast-evolving skills needs, drive up building safety standards, and play a vital role in changing perceptions and working methods around sustainability and mental health.

The report highlights equality and diversity, digital skills needs, and modern methods of construction as further key principles that will guide the design of apprenticeships, T Levels, and technical qualifications.

IfATE can also confirm that the route name for the sector will be expanded to ‘Construction and the Built Environment’.  This better reflects the occupational standards contained in the route and the terminology used by the sector as well as further and higher education partners.

There is intention to review the Occupational Standards and Apprenticeship Standards for Plasterer and Interior Systems Installer at the same time possibly bringing both Employer Trailblazer groups together. The review the 99 standards available for construction and the built environment will take place over the next 18 months.  FIS will publish information as and when it becomes available.

Construction Route Review

The construction route review aims to ensure that all the occupational standards included in the route provide the training needed by the sector for its current and future workforce.