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Build back better: Improving the apprenticeship system to better support infrastructure

Foreword Since the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, employers have been charged with developing and delivering apprenticeships through which the majority of construction employers have changed the way they recruit, train, and ultimately fund the development of the skills they need. The evidence presented to us clearly shows that across our sector, employers are passionate and committed to the new apprenticeship system, widely engage in trailblazer activity, develop both technical and professional apprenticeships, support apprentices on and off the job, and highly value the clear links to professional registration. As this report highlights, employers remain concerned over the long-term stability and the viability of the system and funding reforms, especially through the levy. Employers continue to state the need for a more responsive and efficient apprenticeship development and review process, for flexibility in the use of the levy, and to access the right type of training in the right place for their apprentices. As Government focus is now turning to the development of the National Infrastructure Plan to aid recovery from Covid-19, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and employers are calling on Government to work across the whole construction sector, to ensure we have apprenticeships that are fit for purpose, to deliver technical and professional skills, and provide employers the opportunity to shape and drive forward the right outcomes across the full construction sector, driving forward innovation and growth within the UK economy. Without the right kind of careers information, advice and guidance within the schools’ system, employers will continue to suffer the inability to attract and retain the best talent. For too long construction has suffered with outdated perceptions of muddy boots and hard hats, often associated with low level jobs. Now is the time for the Government to work with our sector to showcase and promote the careers across the full spectrum of employers and occupational roles, showing the opportunity that future talent can have in driving forward innovation and technological solutions that will shape their environment for the better. This report is designed to inform and support employers, providers, professional bodies and policymakers, helping them to collectively shape future developments across the breadth and depth of the construction sector. We now present a range of recommendations to aid in the ongoing reform of apprenticeships and their funding and push forward with a better National Infrastructure Plan. Finally, we would like to thank all those that have given their time and expertise and insight from their organisation’s perspective, without which this report and its recommendations could not have been forged.

Graham Watts OBE CIC Chief Executive BA(Hons), HonFRIBA, HonRICS, HonFCIBSE, HonFICWCI, HonFBIID, HonMCIAT, Hon FCABE, HonFFB, HonFCInstCES FRSA, MCMI

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