New building apprenticeship gives school leavers a boost

A new Tier 3 apprenticeship standard fills a skills gap in the construction sector and gives a boost to young school leavers, according to construction employers in West Yorkshire.

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 and CICES), associations (TICA and CECA) and major contractors in the construction and built environment sector.

Some 27 construction industry companies – led by Phil Evans of Barratt Developments – collaborated with the education sector on the creation, design and development of the apprenticeship program. This coordinated effort resulted in the new learning framework being fully endorsed by the Institute of Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IFATE). The training will be launched in September and school leavers can apply now.

Barratt Developments has agreed to welcome 25 new CST apprentices, with similar interest expressed by energy and regeneration specialist EQUANS (the new name for ENGIE’s services business), Persimmon Homes, and several contractors premises in thermal insulation and civil engineering.

Brian Duffy, head of faculty at Leeds College of Building, said:

“Receiving official approval for this new apprenticeship is great news, as it fills an important training gap in the industry. I want to thank everyone involved in creating this standard after years of hard work. This will now provide a great opportunity for employers and hopefully enable a host of apprentices from diverse 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 an early age. Through this training, apprentices gain a good understanding of six potential career paths – Estimating, Quantity Surveying, Architectural Technology (Design and Build), Purchasing, Site Technician, and Planning – before choosing to specialize. This broad understanding of the sector will be invaluable to employers, especially SMEs that need staff with more comprehensive skills.
Phil Evans, Chairman of the Employer Council and Head of Grants and Funding at Barratt Developments, said:

“I am very pleased that the Construction Support Technician Apprenticeship Standard has been approved. I’d like to thank everyone at the Trailblazer Group, especially Past President, Lee Firth, who led the group almost to the end. This standard will provide a significant 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 there is a new generation of workers with the skills to deliver the Future Home standard. This new apprenticeship program is an important step in attracting and retaining a larger and more diverse workforce to meet the future needs of communities.

Due to the success of the project, Leeds College of Building was invited to deliver a best practice seminar to a range of British Association of Construction Heads (BACH) college members to introduce the Technician Apprenticeship Standard of construction support (CST).

Jordan Grainger, Head of Learning and Development at EQUANS, said:

“It was a pleasure to be part of the group of pioneers to develop this much needed learning standard. The course will enable young people to enter the industry and gain a recognized qualification which gives them a range of knowledge and skills in the built environment, enabling them to develop through a specific career path.

“At EQUANS, we have noticed a gap in the current apprenticeship offer which has had an impact on recruitment for construction technician positions. We are now excited to be looking for our first Level 3 CST Apprentices this summer, which will allow us to continue to grow our pool of early career talent.

CST learning acts as an alternative route to A Levels and requires four GCSEs at Level 4 and above, including Maths and English. Apprentices attending Leeds College of Building will earn a BTEC L3 qualification and produce a work-based portfolio while working towards completing an endpoint assessment to conclude their two-year apprenticeship. Employers considering taking on an apprentice who are interested in CST apprenticeships can contact the Leeds College of Building apprenticeship team on 0113 222 6041 or email [email protected]

For complete course information, visit Leeds College of Building website.

Alice F. Ponder