New Training Awards to celebrate people, dedication and achievement in plastering and interior trades

New Training Awards to celebrate people, dedication and achievement in plastering and interior trades

FIS and The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers have joined forces to expand on the Plaisterers’ Training Awards, which traditionally covered plastering and drylining, to encompass the wider finishes and interiors sector. The new Training Awards will now recognise outstanding individuals and contributions made to recruiting, training and developing people in plastering and interior trades.

Commenting on the expansion of the awards, FIS President Helen Tapper and Member of The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers Industry Committee said:

“When looking at the skills shortages that have impacted our sector in recent times, it often belies the effort that businesses, training providers and individuals are making.  FIS and the Plaisterers are both committed to encouraging people to join the industry and a focus on continuous learning and development.

“People talk about competence and that is vital, but so too is pride in what we do – our work is the stuff that makes structures and shells into homes, hospitals, workplaces and inspiring educational settings. The people that do this are skilled craftspeople and more needs to be done to recognise this, both within and beyond our sector.  We have a proud tradition, but a bright future too and this initiative is about two of our key institutions working together to help us to identify, celebrate and learn from the people who are building this future.”

The awards categories will acknowledge individuals, employees, students, apprentices, independent training providers and colleges who have made an exceptional contribution to learning and development in the sector.

The 2022 award categories are:

  • Student of the Year – Plaisterers Award for Plastering Trades
  • Student of the Year – FIS Award for Interior Trades
  • Apprentice of the Year – Plaisterers Award for Plastering Trades
  • Apprentice of the Year – FIS Award for Interior Trades
  • Colleges and Independent Training Providers (large)
  • Colleges and Independent Training Providers (small)
  • FIS Member Training Programme
  • Mentors Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

As well as trade specific sponsored awards:

  • British Gypsum Trophy (independent training provider/college drylining)
  • Saint Gobain Formula Trophy (Fibrous/GRG can be any organisation or person)

The awards will officially open for entries on the 31 March and close mid-August. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Plaisterers’ Hall on 22 November.

Master of The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers Margaret Coates commented:

“Our aim is to create with FIS a Training Awards event that showcases the very best of the sector’s occupations, that both encourages and inspires others to do more. The skills shortage is profound. We must address this, by attracting people to the plastering and interior trades and by promoting excellent training providers and supportive employers.

“A vibrant construction industry is crucial to a strong economy and our sector plays an important role. We look forward to working with FIS not just in rewarding and celebrating success but finding and telling the stories that inspire others to join or invest in those people who will lead our amazing sector forwards.  We urge and encourage you to enter this collaborative competition and to tell your story.”

For more details on entering these awards visit www.thefis.org/training-awards-2022

For further information or for any questions please contact FIS at info@thefis.org or call 0121 707 0077 or The Worshipful Company of Plasiterers on clerk@plaistererslivery.co.uk or call 0207 7964333.

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Buckinghamshire Skills Show – FIS Construction Ambassadors, helping industry recruit

Buckinghamshire Skills Show – FIS Construction Ambassadors, helping industry recruit

FIS is hugely excited to have signed up to the Go Construct/STEM Ambassador Scheme. Go Construct STEM Ambassadors bring the construction industry to life. Ambassadors engage with young people at educational events across the UK to raise aspirations, showcase career options and support learning.

As a sector, we need to really get ahead of bringing in new talent.  There are lots of opportunities within our industry for new entrants and career changers. Careers in the finishes sector are not however widely publicised; teachers and influencers and therefore young people are not aware of the work and training options available. We need to be more visible as people and as businesses!

One of the ways FIS is helping to promote our sector is through the Go Construct/STEM Ambassador Scheme. Go Construct STEM Ambassadors are construction people who act as the face of the industry. Ambassadors bring the construction industry to life, engaging with potential recruits at educational events across the UK. showcasing career options and supporting learning. Examples of Ambassadors activities include running a trade stand at a careers fair, delivering a talk and sharing experiences of getting into and working in the industry, leading practical sessions or workshops, giving young people a taste of life in construction offering site visits and work experience.

Marie Flinter and Catherine Bullough at FIS are helping to drive this great initiative forward and FIS were delighted to be invited to take part at the Spring 2022 Buckinghamshire Skills Show.

Catherine Bullough said:

With over 5000 young people and job seekers visiting the show over two days, we were certainly kept busy speaking with visitors to our stand who were interested in finding out about careers in the finishes and interiors sector. Over 120 businesses and associations attended, so we also had a great opportunity to network with fellow exhibitors such as CITB, the National Federation of Demolition Contractors and Morgan Sindall. It was a real pleasure to attend such a well organised event; we literally just had to turn up with our stand which gave us loads of time to interact with the students and their teachers

One of the career challenges for our sector is that it can be overshadowed by the more talked about trades such as brick work and plumbing. So, we need to be louder and out there! We need lots more people from industry to become ambassadors for the sector and really shout about what a great job being a dryliner or a plasterer or a ceiling fixer is.  Anyone working in the industry can be a Go Construct STEM Ambassador. Go Construct/STEM have resources available which can support your ambassador activity with access to a national network of likeminded people

Whether you’re a first-year apprentice, a qualified dryliner or a company director, we’d love your support to help more people experience the many varied opportunities in our sector. You just need to be passionate about construction and the built environment and be willing to share your experiences with others.

To find out more about the Scheme, please contact either Catherine or Marie at FIS 0121 707 0077 catherinebullough@thefis.org marieflinter@thefis.org. For more information on the Go Construct STEM Ambassador Scheme click here

Are you struggling with labour shortages and recruitment?

Are you struggling with labour shortages and recruitment?

The first of our Regional Training and Recruitment Intervention Events took place in London on Tuesday 22 March 2022.  With labour shortages and recruitment, a key challenge within the sector, presentations and discussion focused on the scale of the problem, local opportunities and provided ideas to support recruitment and retention.

The events are moving round the country and we will also be visiting Leicester, Bristol, Dartford, Manchester and Glasgow. We hope you can  join us at one of these meetings to start the conversation on how we can work together to tackle the skills crisis our sector is facing. To register visit https://www.thefis.org/events/

FIS presented the estimated size of the challenge and suggested systems and methods that employers could use as support.  An outline of the nine government funded schemes was given.  Anthony Frayne from CITB publicised an increase to the grants available specifically for Dry Lining Traineeships and Apprenticeships.  Speakers Rachel Roberts from Greater London Authority presented what is available for employers locally and Jacqui Wordsworth explained the work of, and the support, provided by Women in Construction.  All speakers suggested sources of recruitment that may not have been considered by some and discussions bore out an ambition to promote and attract more people into the sector.  The responses reflected a desire to encourage people from schools, colleges, universities and the rich mix of gender and ethnic diversity available in this country into the finishes and interiors workforce.

John Llamas, Community and Skills Manager, Mace said:

“Really useful meeting this morning and great to see the network working afterwards. Well worth attending if you want to get some insight into support available, how to refine and improve what you are doing to find new people and start the conversation about how we can work better as a supply chain.”

George Swann FIS Skills and Training Lead said

“The loudest message from the London event is FIS know there are employers who are finding it hard out there but as a member of FIS you are never alone, please contact us, if we have not got an answer for you we will know someone who has.  To support recruitment from Schools and Colleges FIS have started to build a network of Construction STEM Ambassadors, as an Ambassador the commitment is two visits per year, if you feel this scheme may help your recruitment needs give us a call”.

Join us at our Regional Training and Recruitment Intervention Events

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New CITB Grants Scheme from 1 April 2022

New CITB Grants Scheme from 1 April 2022

From 01 April 2022 onwards for occupational Traineeships that are only available in England, a one-off CITB grant of £1000 will be available to employers after completion of an 8 to 10 week CITB Occupational Traineeship work placement.  Occupational Traineeship are available in:

  • Brickwork
  • Carpentry and Joinery
  • Drylining
  • Painting and Decorating

Employers will be able to claim once the traineeship work placement is complete, the evidence required will be email confirmation from the college or certificate to include learner name, course title and completion date.  Applications can be submitted to grant.claimforms@citb.co.uk.  This grant payment will be in addition to the £1000 paid by government.

Employers can provide up to 10 work placements per region for Traineeships and it is felt this could be a route employers will use to identify their next apprentices.  Individuals that have completed a Traineeship may be eligible for an accelerated apprenticeship as they will have already completed a lot of the training and this will reduce the time needed to achieve.

For employers taking on apprentices across the UK CITB will provide an enhanced grant of £2000, the initial £1000 will be paid with the first attendance quarterly payment, with the second £1000 paid with the final attendance payment.

This enhanced grant is for Apprentices who start the Dry Lining Framework or Standard Apprenticeship on or after 1 April 2022.  The enhancement is automatically added where the employer is eligible at the same time as the attendance grant is processed.  Eligible Apprenticeships:

  • England – Level 2 Interior Systems Installer – Drylining Systems (IFATE Standard)
  • Wales – Level 2 Interior Systems – Dry Lining knowledge qualification (ACW Framework)
  • Scotland – SCQF Level 5 Dry Lining – Finishing/Fixing (SDS Framework)

If the Apprentice changes employer during their apprenticeship the payment will be made to the employer the apprentice is with at that time.

George Swann FIS Skills and Training Lead said:

“This clearly recognises that the core trades in the finishes and interiors sector are short of people and this is having a knock on effect through the entire construction industry.  The additional CITB grants are welcome and should help to tip the balance in favour of action for some employers.  Remember, if you decide to take on an apprentice or support a traineeship, you are not alone, FIS team is here to help.  We’ll be covering how to access these grants and wider funding in our Regional Interventions throughout the Spring”.

New guidance on funding and business support in Scotland

On Tuesday, the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) launched a new guide on the funding and business support available to industry. The guide is an action from the CLF Recovery Plan of actions aligned with the Scottish Government’s policies and the Construction Scotland Industry Strategy. The new guide has been produced by the Forum’s Digital Strategy Steering Group, following research by one of its members which showed a need to help businesses access support on digital upskilling. 

 

New CSCS app set to simplify site skills card checks

New CSCS app set to simplify site skills card checks

The CLC stated that, “By 31 March 2022, all card schemes must use smart technology which has the capability to electronically check agreed information relevant to a cardholder, using a common interface, without the need to manually enter data.”  In March 2021 the partner card forum (now CSCS Alliance) set-up a delivery group of representative members in order to deliver on the CLC objective.

The Delivery Group appointed technology consultancy firm StableLogic, to support them with the design and procurement of a new system to deliver on the CLCs requirement.  Following a detailed investigation into existing technologies of partner schemes and procurement process, the Delivery Group and selected supplier are in the final stages of testing on the new application, to be known as CSCS Smart Check.

The proposed App covers more than 2 million CSCS and partner scheme cards across all 38 CSCS Partner Schemes.  The collaborative process represents a blueprint and exemplar for what can be achieved with a shared objective and willingness to raise standards and work together across a complex digital environment.

Industry should be aware of key dates and times; this link will take you to the CSCS web page showing all details webinars will be hosted jointly by representatives from CSCS and the Smart Check Delivery Group.

CSCS is hosting a series of CSCS Smart Check webinars ahead of the app’s rollout in April which are intended to provide industry with an overview of the application, training and support materials, and any key updates which will need to be considered.  Attendees can register for their preferred webinars via the link above.

George Swann FIS Skills and Training Lead said:

“Contractors, employers, site supervisors and managers are strongly advised to take advantage of this new App when its available in April, to ensure your organisation does not fall foul of legislation.  It’s not just about an unqualified workforce fake credentials are often used in illegal activities including modern slavery”

£3000 funding available for taking on an apprentice

£3000 funding available for taking on an apprentice

Employers must apply for the £3,000 incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice

If you hired a new apprentices between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022 and these apprentices have an apprenticeship start date between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, employers could be eligible for the £3,000 incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice.  Applications for the incentive payment close on 15 May 2022.

How employers apply
Employers should check their apprentices’ eligibility – they must have:

  • an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022
  • an apprenticeship start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022

To receive the payment, employers must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using their apprenticeship service account.

Use the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) step-by-step guide for more information.

When applying for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice, employers should 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 any information is incorrect, this will delay payments.  If you have a query about the incentive payment, check the help articles in the ESFA help portal

Skills Hub

The Skills Hub brings together details of courses specific to the finishes and interiors sector, making accessing and booking training quick and easy. In addition, it provides information on sector careers, apprenticeships and funding, as well as access to e-learning, CPD and other training.