Housing Secretary backs new wave of builders merchant apprentices to deliver housing growth

Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has praised the builders merchants industry for attracting apprentices into the sector to help solve the housing crisis.

Speaking at a parliamentary reception to mark the 110th anniversary of the Builders Merchants Federation, the Housing Secretary pointed to the vital role the building materials industry will play in meeting the Government’s housebuilding targets. He welcomed the work of the BMF and its members in using the Apprenticeship Levy to create apprenticeship roles and opportunities for young people to enter the sector.

The BMF revealed that 74 builders merchants have so far used the Apprenticeship Levy, which came into effect just a year ago, to create new apprenticeship roles, and they anticipate a further 200 new apprenticeship roles by the end of this year. John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said the numbers will continue growing quickly over the coming years and pointed to Travis Perkins’ recent announcement of plans to create 200 apprentice roles in 2018 alone.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive, BMF said:

“At £55bn the UK building materials supply chain is bigger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined. We’re growing too, with our members seeing robust growth through 2017 and into this year.

“We’re a national success story, with merchants delivering the building blocks for economic and housing growth across the country. If the country is to build the homes we need over the coming years, builders merchants will be called upon to play a leading role.

“The confidence, growth and resilience in our sector means we’re able to invest more into opening up opportunities for young people to enter the industry. We truly value what apprentices can bring to our industry and through our own Apprenticeships Training Agency we are keen to encourage as many people as possible into the sector. This is why we welcome the Government’s introduction of the Apprenticeships Levy, as we’ve been able to use this to boost the availability of roles for trainees and to help address skills shortages in our industry.

“Many merchants have been around for over 100 years and are family businesses. We care about our local communities. This is why we’re the perfect partner for a government looking to build more homes, and a great place for young people to build a great career for themselves”.

Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

“For over a century the Builders Merchants Federation has played a crucial role in supporting our construction industry to build the homes our country needs and training the next generation’s workforce.

“I want to congratulate the BMF and its members for their long service and continued work offering young people the potential for a great career in the industry.”