Apprentice Wage Rates

Apprentice Wage Rates

Following the increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates from 1 April 2021, the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) has confirmed that, where the pay rates for apprentices in the Working Rule Agreement do not align with the NMW, the NMW takes precedence and apprentices should paid in line with the latest NMW rates.

In last week’s newsletter we reported that the Minimum Wage Rate changes announced in the Budget came into force on the 1st April.  New rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) come into force on 1 April 2021. These follow recommendations made in the autumn by the Low Pay Commission (LPC). To mark the uprating, this report looks ahead at the implications of the incoming rates and the LPC’s remit for the year ahead.

The new NLW and NMW rates are set out below. The NLW now applies to all workers aged 23 and over. The previous age of eligibility was 25. This will come down again to 21 by 2024.

Previous rate Rate from April 2021 Increase
National Living Wage £8.72 £8.91 2.2%
21-22 Year Old Rate £8.20 £8.36 2.0%
18-20 Year Old Rate £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 Year Old Rate £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice Rate £4.15 £4.30 3.6%
Accommodation Offset £8.20 £8.36 2.0%

These increases mark the first step on the path to the Government’s target of an NLW set at two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. This report sets out the latest pathway to that target, based on projections of average pay growth. We are currently consulting on the NLW and NMW rates to be introduced from April 2022.

More information on the NLW and NMW is available here
Visit the FIS Employment Toolkit here

Additional Funding For Training And Qualifications

Additional Funding For Training And Qualifications

Additional Funding For Training And Qualifications Completed Between 1st August 2020 and 31 March 2021

The FIS Training Group has secured additional funding to support the cost of training and qualifications completed by FIS employer members in scope to CITB.

The additional funding, of up to £1,500 per company, covers a range of training from generic health and safety through to specialist courses such as spray plastering, deflection heads or fire door inspection and includes vocational qualification achievement.  This funding is in addition to the CITB grant eligible training (GET) code grant you already claim from CITB.

How to claim

Simply send the invoice for training completed since 1st August 2020 to if it meets the criteria set out below, we will arrange a refund to the full 100% of the course cost (up to a maximum of £500 per delegate and £1,500 per company, less the grant already claimed from CITB).  The funding will be available on a first come, first served basis.

For a full list of eligible courses please see: CITB training standards

CITB GET Fund FIS Supplement Terms and Conditions

  1. The supplement cannot be used for GET codes that are already included on an individual employer contracted CITB Skills and Training allocation.
  2. An FIS supplement can only be paid to organisations ‘in scope’ to CITB and up to date with levy payments.
  3. The supplement is primarily for micro and small organisations no more than 25% of the total fund can be paid to large organisations (100 or more employees).
  4. Non grant eligible training is not covered by this supplement.
  5. Training must have taken place between 01 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 and have been completed before applying.
  6. Training must have been completed by delegates who are currently employed by or are NET (taxed) Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sub-contractors of CITB registered employers.
  7. Invoices supplied must show the full costs of the training completed including CITB registration number, Training Provider, course name, CITB GET code, Tier value, date of completion, number of delegates, course cost and VAT.
  8. Successful applications will be notified within 25 working days.
  9. Payments will be made in the first week of October 2020, first week of December 2020 and first week of March 2021.

Funding is limited so cannot be guaranteed.

FIS is happy to review and support all of your funding claims through our one to one Skills and Funding Clinics, remember at this time you can still claim CITB Grants for courses completed in 2019 up until end November 2020, our Skills and Funding Clinics will help you to identify and process these claims.

Level 3 qualifications now free for some adults

Level 3 qualifications now free for some adults

On 1 April nearly 400 qualifications are available at Level 3 qualifications became free to access for over-24s without A-levels, an advanced technical diploma or equivalent.  This is part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and includes over 60 construction‐related courses for qualifications in occupations like Occupational Work Supervision, Site Carpenter, painting and decorating and several others.

Around 11 million adults are eligible for the scheme, which is backed by £95 million in Government funding, and individuals can train part‐time, full time or online for up to 12 weeks depending on the course (or up to 16 weeks on a full‐time skills bootcamp) while continuing to receive Universal Credit.

You can find out more about free courses here.

George Swann, FIS Skills and Training Lead says, “If your workforce do not have qualifications with the introduction of the Building Safety Bill later this year this is definitely worth a look, to see if there is anything applicable to the roles you employ”.

Encourage the Next Generation

Encourage the Next Generation

How to become a Construction Ambassador:  We are all aware of the difficulties of encouraging the next generation into one of the finishes and interiors sectors many careers.  As an employer you no doubt feel concern when it’s time to recruit, by becoming a Construction Ambassador yourself or allowing members of your workforce to become Ambassadors it could remove some of those concerns and it does not need to take up a lot of your time.  Construction Ambassadors play a vital role in promoting careers in the construction industry.  These specially trained individuals:

  • inspire others to consider a career in the industry and share what it’s actually like to work in construction
  • very often provide the first introduction to the construction industry for young people who are considering their future career
  • engage young people with the fantastic opportunities available in the industry, ambassadors can encourage the next generation of construction professionals.

Anyone working in the industry can be a construction ambassador.  You just need to be passionate about construction and the built environment, and willing to share your experiences with others.  Whether you’re a first year apprentice or a company director, STEM learning would love your support to help more people experience the varied opportunities in our sector.  It’s easy to sign up, to become a STEM Construction Ambassador, register via the link below:

  1. Once registered you will need to re-visit your new STEM Ambassador profile to join the construction specific STEM scheme. Go to Profile > Skills & Qualifications > Edit and under the header ‘schemes participation’ search construction and select ‘Construction & Built Environment’ so that STEM Learning can continue to support you with the latest information and resources to enable you to inspire the next generation of potential entrants to the sector.
  2. When you reach the ‘scheme participation section’ select to participate in the ‘Construction and the built environment’ scheme and tick the box indicating you are happy for your details to be shared. Ticking this box is very important as it will allow STEM Learning to send you news about the latest Go Construct resources, opportunities, events and training.
  3. You’ll need to complete a free of charge Enhanced Disclosure Check as part of your registration process. Depending on whether you hold a DBS check (or the Scottish equivalent), it could take up to three weeks for this to be processed.
  4. When you’ve registered, you’ll need to complete some induction training and a safeguarding assessment. Your induction will explain how you can manage your own engagements and request resources via your personal STEM Learning dashboard.
  5. Once STEM Learning are satisfied with your Enhanced Disclosure Check you will be good to go and can start booking in events to attend as a construction ambassador. Register to be an Ambassador here

George Swann, FIS Skills and Training Lead says “this is an opportunity to show school leavers and their teachers that the finishes and interiors sector has many opportunities for long and fulfilling work careers”.

Apprentice Employers can make up to 10 new reservations

Apprentice Employers can make up to 10 new reservations

From 1 April 2021, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will reset reservation levels for employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy.  This will enable employers to make up to 10 new reservations to fund new apprenticeship starts in the financial year 2021-22.  ESFA will continue to monitor the number of reservations used by employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy and will keep this under review.

Funds transferred from employers who pay the levy to other employers through the apprenticeship service are not included when measuring the number of reservations.  Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy can reserve funds for training and assessment in the ‘finance’ section of their apprenticeship service account.  They can also give training providers permission to do this on their behalf.  Find out more

Employers can reserve funds up to 6 months in advance.

From 1 April 2021, we are extending the reservation period for employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy from 3 to 6 months.  This means that from 1 April, these employers will be able to reserve funds up to 6 months before an apprenticeship is planned to start.  This will give employers greater flexibility when planning their apprenticeship programmes and reassure them that funding for apprenticeships is available for a longer period.  Find out more

Construction Leadership Council Skills Plan and Stem Ambassadors

Construction Leadership Council Skills Plan and Stem Ambassadors

Build UK, supported by CITB, joined forces with STEM Ambassadors last year to showcase careers in construction and help to attract talent.  Build UK are delighted to see the commitment to recruit 7,000 Construction STEM Ambassadors included in the CLC’s Industry Skills Plan, and they encourage all Build UK members to sign up and volunteer their time and experience to inspire young people to join the industry.  FIS are members of Build UK.

The CLC skills plan emphasises collaboration between industry and Government and prioritises action in four areas:

  • Careers ‐ creating an industry that is attractive and inclusive, whilst supporting direct employment
  • Standards and Qualifications ‐ modernising qualifications to boost transferrable skills and embed digital technologies
  • Training, Education and Development ‐ developing high‐quality routes into the industry and strengthening links between further and higher education and employers
  • Culture and Working Environment ‐ retaining talent in the industry through upskilling and improved career development.

Skills and Training Lead, George Swann says “Construction Stem Ambassadors are a great way of promoting the careers on offer in the finishes and interiors sector.  These individuals often provide the first introduction to the construction industry for young people who are considering their future career.”