Review of Shortage Occupations List

Review of Shortage Occupations List

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended to Government that just eight occupations across the whole economy should be on the Shortage Occupations List (SOL) going forward, including three in construction (bricklayers and masons; roofers, roof tilers and slaters; and construction and building trades not elsewhere classified).

The reason cited is:

“Whilst respondents provided evidence of shortage, there was insufficient evidence provided by stakeholders about measures that had been taken to try to attract more workers. The occupation is of clear public value but attempts to fill the shortages should be made by the industry with the tools available, such as efforts to increase direct employment, creating attractive terms and conditions and benefits packages, and using the existing SW route. Only if these attempts are made but do not solve shortages, should the SOL be considered as a next step.”

However, the MAC is calling on Government to confirm whether or not the Skilled Worker route should be expanded to include low‐wage RQF 3 occupations in order to determine the future of the SOL.

In what would be a significant change of policy, the MAC proposes that the SOL should be either abolished or heavily reformed if Government does not support such occupations being included, in order to meet the demand for labour whilst ensuring that low‐wage workers are protected. The CLC is currently considering its response to the MAC report.

Commenting on the recommendations FIS CEO stated:

“At this stage these are only recommendations and I hope that Government show a bit of pragmatism and leadership.  The reality is that they have only just, in August!, added key trades like Dry Lining and Plastering to the Shortage List following consultation at the start of the year.   We are moving in to farcical terriotory here, not much is going to have changed in six weeks!! 

It is true that there are serious shortfalls in construction training, but they are not limited to construction.  Apprenticeship targets have been missed then removed across the economy as employers are being stifled by educational policy that just isn’t fit for purpose –  the fact Government have trousered £4.3 billion of unclaimed apprenticeship levy is testament to this.

This is compounded in construction by procurement practices that only encourage shortermism and don’t reward vital things like investment in training.  It would be more helpful for MAC to focus on the shortages and needs and Government look inward to encourage reform in education and support for training or as construction picks up the rapant wage rate inflation in wake of cronic shortages will mean construction works and vital investment in the UK will be jeopardised.”

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Update on Technical Team Activities at FIS

Update on Technical Team Activities at FIS

Our technical team at FIS are continuously working to provide guidance answer questions and look out for changes in legislation that could impact your business. The work we do is varied as you will see from the presentation, this first video update includes: Details...

Proposed changes to end point assessment for ceilings and partitions

Proposed changes to end point assessment for ceilings and partitions

Following consultation with employers and NOCN the proposed End Point Assessment (EPA) practical element for Ceilings and Partitions is unworkable and some changes need to be made. The findings were that each element, (core qualification and specialist option) should...

Funding available for NVQ Levels 2 and 3

Funding available for NVQ Levels 2 and 3

FIS Training Provider member DMR has a suite of funding available for FIS members in Greater Manchester, Greater London and England.

  • Greater Manchester: Greater Manchester Combined Authority Funding
    NVQ Level 2 & 3 in Drylining, Joinery, Fitted Interiors, Passive Fire Protection and more.
  • Greater London: Mayor of London Funding
    NVQ Level 2 & 3 for Insulation and Retrofit Firms.
  • England: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) Funding
    Fully funded NVQ 2 & 3 in Insulation. Funding covers all Insulation and Retrofit trades and is available to eligible firms in England including those seeking PAS 2030 certification for ECO4 work.

For more information and the terms and conditions that apply to these funding options, please contact Marie Flinter on 07799 903103 or email

Training Awards Shortlist Announced

Training Awards Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the 2023 Training Awards has been determined by a panel of judges.

Celebrating excellence and achievement in plastering and interior trade, the Training Awards are a collaboration between FIS and the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers. The winners are announced during the Training Awards Lunch, which is being held on 21 November at Plaisterers’ Hall in London. The event allows us to celebrate the best of training as we recognise the apprentices, students and organisations that are building the next generation of talent and provides a great networking opportunity with like-minded organisations from the fit-out and plastering sector.

These awards acknowledge the accomplishments of apprentices, students who have exceeded expectations, training delivery by colleges and training providers, mentors and others who have supported sector training, and lifetime contribution to sector training.

Apprentice of  the Year Shortlist

  • Ryan Stanford
  • Bella Romain
  • Deniss Fridenbergs
  • Zara Dupont
  • Michael Aarons
  • Ben Comerford.

Training Provider / College of the Year shortlist

  • NPTC Group of Colleges
  • College of North West London
  • DMR Training and Consultancy
  • Carlisle College.

Student of the Year Shortlist

  • Kathryn Doyland from GRWP
  • Caroline Moor from Vision West Notts College
  • Edward Celmins from Carlisle College
  • Dan Titley from V&D
  • Julius Debrah from Now Get Qualified

Congratulations to all the nominees for their hard work and dedication in pursuing their academic goals!

If you’re interested in attending the ceremony and joining us in celebrating the winners, book your place here.

CITB launches fire safety in buildings training

CITB launches fire safety in buildings training

CITB has announced the launch of its new Level 1 (awareness) course, which has been developed in partnership with Build UK and fire industry experts. The course is designed to improve an individual’s knowledge of fire safety measures in buildings and is suitable for anyone working in the design, construction, or maintenance of buildings, with a specific focus on installers.

The course is free and is split into five modules:

  • Grenfell
  • Materials
  • Fire protection
  • Competence
  • Installation

Certification lasts five years.

For more information and to register visit

Knowledge of careers in construction remains concerningly low

Knowledge of careers in construction remains concerningly low

As part of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce Work, educational charity Class of Your Own ran a short survey to gather views of teachers and students in years 8 to 11 from schools in the London area on their views and understanding of careers in construction and sustainability.  The survey highlights some concerning gaps in understanding, but despite this close to 40% of students are interested in careers in construction, with 10% stating that they want to be an architect/engineer or tradesperson.

The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce was set up to support the aims of the City Corporation’s radical Climate Action Strategy which commits to net-zero carbon emissions across the City Corporation’s operations by 2027, and to support the achievement of net zero for the Square Mile by 2040.  Over 300 organizations have joined the ‘Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce,’ including designers, construction firms, and education providers.

This survey formed part of this work.  Headline findings included:

  • 70% of students and 82% of teachers had no idea that nearly 10% of the UK working population are employed in the construction sector
  • 37% of students surveyed are interested in a career in construction
  • 50% of students are very or extremely worried about climate change
  • 25% of students said that climate change will impact future choice of subject they will study and career
  • 45% of teachers and 30% of students rated their familiarity with careers in construction at 1 or 2 out of 5
  • 10% of students responded that they want to be an architect / engineer or tradesperson
  • The vast majority of teachers (76%) and students (72%) feel they would benefit from local employer involvement in understanding qualification choices and career options in construction

Commenting on the research Iain McIlwee, FIS CEO and Chair of the working group looking at Barriers for Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce stated:

“There are some worrying numbers in this research, but no surprises and room for optimism.  The key stats to hang on to are that close to 40% of students would consider a career in construction and10% are planning to join the industry.  This is something to build on and, whilst knowledge of careers in the sector fall short of what we want, there are signs that teachers and students are open to better direct engagement from employers.

A key challenge is that schools and educational authorities have a fragmented and inconsistent approach to advising on careers – this is an area we need to lobby for change.  In the interim it is beholden on us to redouble our efforts to deliver consistent and joined up information that is well targeted and helps students make informed decisions.
I am excited about the opportunity to work with the City of London to help improve the way industry and education are working together and deliver positive messages about construction so that we can encourage more young people to look in our direction and join us in rebuilding a Sustainable London.”

To help encourage entrants, FIS sponsored a free prize draw where a teacher and student receive a £50 Amazon Voucher.  The teacher price was won by Mr Brown, a Maths and PSHE Teacher from John F Kennedy Catholic School in Hertfordshire.  The winning student was Joseph Cameron from Fulham Cross Academy (pictured with Head of Sixth Form, Alan Jones).

Alison Watson MBE Founder and Chief Executive at Class Of Your Own Limited stated: “It’s great to join forces with such like-minded organisations. Only through collaboration can we bridge the knowledge gap between classrooms and the construction industry, dispelling myths and igniting interest in sustainable careers. By equipping students and teachers with real-world insights, we can show that construction is a dynamic field where STEM, digital skills and climate action intersect.”

Building on this and the wider work of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce, The City of London Corporation has released a new report urging investment in workers to meet the growing demand for green jobs and skills in decarbonizing the city’s commercial buildings.  Phase 2 of the Taskforce work is to develop an Action Plan to respond to the research with impactful interventions and an industry engagement campaign to promote reskilling and upskilling among the existing workforce, and raising career awareness amongst Londoners, including those from underrepresented backgrounds.

You can read the full Skyline Skills Recommendation report here


Get involved in Skills Bootcamps

Get involved in Skills Bootcamps

FIS is looking for employers to offer work trials or employment to candidates that are currently taking part in Skills Bootcamps.

We are currently seeking employers that are:

  • Based in the London or West Midlands area that has vacancies for Drylining, Carpentry or Bricklaying contractors
  • Are happy to offer a two- week work trial on completion of the Bootcamp
  • Can provide an interview at the end of the work trial for a term of no less than 12 weeks

Skills Bootcamps are a Department for Education (DfE) initiative which has been developed in partnership with local employers, training providers and local authorities to help fill skills gaps and vacancies in their areas.

The Skills Bootcamps for construction are open to anyone aged 19 and over, looking to change sectors or progress in their current industry. They offer flexible courses lasting up to 16 weeks and include classroom-based, on-the-job and short courses. All Bootcamp participants are guaranteed a job interview at the end of the course.

FIS member Construction Helpline are offering government funded Skills Bootcamps which are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

To get involved in the Skills Bootcamps in your region, contact

Further information is available at Free Government Funded Skills Bootcamps in Drylining, Bricklaying, Carpentry & Occupational work Supervision. Apply now for free with Construction Helpline