Apprenticeship Levy spending must focus on construction, says FMB Scotland

Gordon Nelson
Gordon Nelson

The Federation of Master Builders Scotland (FMB Scotland) has called on the Scottish Government to give the construction industry priority access to the £10 million Flexible Workforce Development Fund.

Details of the initiative were unveiled in a report by minister for employability and training, Jamie Hepburn, earlier this week.

The new £10 fund aims to help companies up-skill and re-skill existing their existing workforce and address skills gaps.

Welcoming the clarity on how the Levy will be invested in Scotland, FMB Scotland said the government must now ensure construction is named as one of the key enabling sectors for skills support.

Gordon Nelson, director of FMB Scotland, said: “With less than four months to go until the Apprenticeship Levy starts to be collected from firms with a wage bill of more than £3 million, we finally have details from the Scottish Government regarding how it will invest this money. However, what we now need is for Ministers to recognise the construction industry as a priority sector for skills support.

“The industry needs to be given the same status as other sectors named as being particularly important including digital, care and early years. We’re calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that construction is given priority access to the £10m Flexible Workforce Development Fund detailed in the report.

“Last week, the Scottish Government announced ambitious plans for infrastructure, house building and energy efficiency in its Budget, and today has made further bold pledges on boosting apprenticeship numbers. Yet by failing to prioritise construction as a key skills sector, the Scottish Government is in danger of putting the cart before horse. For every £1 invested in construction, £2.84 is generated in the wider economy and we therefore urge the Scottish Government to give construction the priority status it demands as Ministers continue to develop their skills strategy.”

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