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New Construction Apprenticeship Tackles Skill Shortages

CST Apprenticeship LCoB
22 June 2022

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. 


“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.”


– Phil Evans
Chair of the Employer Board, Head of Grants and Funding, Barratt Developments


An Industry-wide Collaboration


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.  


Increasing Skills Diversity for the Next Generation


“Gaining formal approval for this new apprenticeship is such brilliant news as it fills a significant training gap in the industry,” said Brian Duffy, Faculty Director at Leeds College of Building. “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 – the experience estimating, quantity surveying, architectural technology including design and build, purchasing, on-site technician, and planning all before choosing to specialise. This broad understanding of the sector will be invaluable to employers, particularly SMEs who need staff with more rounded skills.” 

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. 


Preparing for The Future Home Standard


Phil Evans, Chair of the employer board, and Head of Grants and Funding at Barratt Developments, said: “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.”

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 about the opportunity.


Picture: two apprentices, smiling while working on laptops. Image credit: Leeds College of Building.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 22 June 2022


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