A key shift in training (1)

Shaun Wadsworth explains why employers across the wider floorlaying community should be embracing the new floorlayer apprenticeship standard.

IN my last CFJ article it was great to announce that the new floorlayer apprenticeship standard is officially up-and-running, offering a chance for anyone eligible to take on a three-year floorlaying apprenticeship as long as they’re over the age of 16, have the right to work in the UK  and the employer can confirm there’s a genuine job offered (by proof of a contract of service by the employer or an apprenticeship training agency).

In this month’s training article, I want to delve a little deeper into why I feel employers across the wider floorlaying community should embrace the new apprenticeship and support their industry by employing more apprentices.

The new floorlayer apprenticeship standard will break down barriers to training by redefining how apprenticeships are funded, how training is delivered and how competency is proven at the end of an apprenticeship.

There’s a shift in control that now sees the employer play a much bigger part in the apprenticeship journey, therefore having the chance to play a pivotal part to accommodate requirements such as off-the-job training and preparation for end-point assessment.

The employer and the training provider now need to work closely with the apprentice to deliver concrete learning opportunities in the workplace, as it’s no longer acceptable to leave most apprentices’ training to the training providers.

There needs to be a suitable environment for apprentices to expand their practical skills and their knowledge, using real-world scenarios not just simulated learning. This allows the apprentice to reinforce what work they can undertake by applying knowledge passed down through employers and peers to best explain their actions.

The apprentice needs to be comfortable with this and be able to confidently discuss floorlaying work professionally as it will be part of the apprenticeship end-point assessment process through a professional discussion.

So, what I really want to do is send out a rally cry to the flooring industry to invest in this new apprenticeship by backing it. Making it a key priority where possible to take on an apprentice is not just beneficial for the flooring industry but for the employer in ways that many might not think.

Increasing apprenticeships in floorlaying is essential to providing a constant and correctly trained source of new workers into the industry. Apprenticeships are a key focus in helping battle skills shortages from an ageing workforce and employing an apprentice can be linked directly to improving the productivity of a company.

One in five employers are hiring more apprentices to help them support and grow their business. Not only do apprentices address skills shortages, but you’ll be getting a keen, motivated member of staff that wants to learn and help your business grow. According to the government, companies who employ apprentices, win more business.

The National Apprenticeship Service – employers’ guide to apprenticeship (last updated Nov 2018) states benefits of taking on an apprentice include:

Employers who have an established apprenticeship programme reported productivity in their workplace had improved by 76%

75% of employers reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service

Apprenticeships can be used to upskill and/or retrain employees of any age, including older workers or existing staff, as long as the apprenticeship is giving them new skills to enable them to achieve competence in their chosen occupation

82% of employers take on apprentices to build the skills capacity within their businesses

96% of apprentice employers say they are beneficial to their business

As the competition for skilled people increases, apprenticeships allow businesses to effectively fill their skill gaps and plan ahead.

As a former apprentice myself I can speak enthusiastically for the experiences, knowledge gained and start it gave me in working life. I’d wholeheartedly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking to learn a trade as the most pivotal starting point regardless of age, as long as the employer and apprentice are fully committed.

The amount of help available to employers is constantly increasing, there are financial incentives across many levels, help in recruitment, retention of apprentices and signposting.
So, if any employer wants to breathe new life into the floorlaying trade and have the space and resources to employ and train apprentices, or for just more information on apprenticeships, speak to your preferred training provider.

For more information on apprenticeships generally, you can refer to section 2 of the CFA Training Guide or contact the CFA directly.
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0115 9411126
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA training manager