A new Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard is filling a skills gap in the building sector and giving a boost to school-leavers, according to West Yorkshire construction employers.
The recently-approved Construction Support Technician (CST) Apprenticeship is the result of two and a half years of collaboration between Leeds College of Building, a network of employers, professional bodies (CABE & CICES), associations (TICA & CECA), and major contractors across the construction and built environment sector.
Some 27 companies from the construction sector – led by Phil Evans of Barratt Developments – collaborated with the education sector on the creation, design and development of the apprenticeship programme. This co-ordinated effort enabled the new Apprenticeship framework to be fully endorsed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE). The training will launch in September and school leavers can apply now.
Barratt Developments has agreed to take on 25 new CST Apprentices, with similar interest expressed by energy and regeneration specialist EQUANS (the new name for ENGIE’s services-led activity), Persimmon Homes, and several local thermal insulation and civil engineering contractors.
Brian Duffy, Faculty Director at Leeds College of Building, said:
“Gaining formal approval for this new apprenticeship is such brilliant news as it fills a significant training gap in the industry. I’d like to thank everyone involved in creating this standard after years of hard work. This will now offer a great opportunity for employers and hopefully allow a host of apprentices from a range of backgrounds to build long and successful careers in construction and the built environment.
“Many employers want a local apprentice who can learn on the job from a young age. With this training, apprentices get a good grounding in six potential career pathways – estimating, quantity surveying, architectural technology (design and build), purchasing, on-site technician, and planning – before choosing to specialise. This broad understanding of the sector will be invaluable to employers, particularly SMEs who need staff with more rounded skills.”
Phil Evans, Chair of the employer board, and Head of Grants and Funding at Barratt Developments, said:
“I’m really pleased that the Construction Support Technician Apprenticeship Standard has been approved. I’d like to thank all the members of the Trailblazer Group, especially the previous Chair, Lee Firth, who led the group almost to the end. This standard will provide an important development opportunity for new entrants to the industry in roles where we have a skills shortage at all levels.
“A big challenge for the sector as we move towards net-zero carbon is ensuring that there is a new generation of workers with the skills needed to deliver the Future Home Standard. This new apprenticeship programme is a significant step towards attracting and retaining a larger and more diverse workforce to meet the future needs of communities.”
Owing to the project’s success, Leeds College of Building was invited to deliver a best practice seminar to a range of college members in the British Association of Construction Heads (BACH) to showcase the Construction Support Technician (CST) Apprenticeship Standard.
Jordan Grainger, Learning & Development Manager at EQUANS said:
“It has been a pleasure to be part of the trailblazer group to develop this much needed apprenticeship standard. The course will enable young people to enter the industry and gain a recognised qualification that gives them a breadth of knowledge and skills within the built environment, allowing them to develop through a specific career pathway.
“At EQUANS, we have noticed a gap in the current apprenticeship offering which has had an impact on recruitment for Construction Technician roles. We are now excited to be seeking our first Level 3 CST apprentices this summer, allowing us to continue to build our early careers talent pool.”
The CST Apprenticeship acts as an alternative pathway to A Levels and requires four GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including Maths and English. Apprentices attending Leeds College of Building will complete a BTEC L3 Diploma and produce a work-based portfolio whilst working towards completion of an End Point Assessment to conclude their apprenticeship over the two-year duration. Employers considering taking on an apprentice and interested in the CST Apprenticeship can contact the Leeds College of Building Apprenticeship Team.