Norfolk company lands Covid-19 construction apprentices contract

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construction apprentice

A Norfolk company has landed a major Government contract to redeploy the region’s displaced construction apprentices at risk of losing out on their career due to Covid-19.

TrAC, based in Badersfield, is the regional delivery partner for the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) national support for Shared Apprenticeship Schemes. TrAC operates across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, with 100% of completed TrAC apprentices going on to be recruited by their construction employers or entering further technical training.

Sixty per cent of construction companies in an industry survey have said they would take on fewer apprentices at the next intake later this year. Approximately half of construction’s 11,000 apprentices across the country are furloughed.

Usually, apprentices work for one employer throughout their training, but at present this may not be possible. CITB is therefore investing a total of £1million in schemes to place apprentices with different construction companies, providing a range of experience and skills while allowing employers to continue supporting apprenticeships through short-term placements.

In response to current needs, TrAC is launching ‘Back on TrAC’, a new service to support the re-employment of construction apprentices who have been made redundant through no fault of their own, as a result of the pandemic – displaced apprentices wishing to find a new employer should register on the TrAC website.

Deborah Madden, CITB Head of Apprenticeships, said: “CITB is committed to doing everything to retain apprentices displaced as a result of Covid-19 within the sector and to limit the impact on their training. We’re delighted to be working with TrAC, who will bring a wealth of experience at this difficult time. Support for shared apprenticeship schemes is just one of several measures outlined as part of CITB’s Skills Stability Plan for industry.”

The Shared Apprenticeship Scheme is expected to support approximately 250 apprentices per year, many with the SMEs which make up 98% of the construction industry.

Many contracts that construction employers work on include Section 106 planning permission requirements to employ local apprentices. Shared Apprenticeship Schemes can help with this through recruitment and in directly employing and supporting apprentices through their training.

Further CITB measures to support construction apprentices and their employers in the coming months include:

  • job redeployment services, including as a partner through the Construction Leadership Council’s Construction Talent Retention Scheme
  • reallocation of funding to a new employer to help apprentices to complete their training if at risk
  • the apprenticeships information and reporting app
  • pastoral support