Around 180 construction industry employers in South West Wales are supporting an award-winning Shared Apprenticeship Programme that has been running for 11 years.
Based in Ammanford, Cyfle Building Skills employs 125 shared apprentices, making it one of the largest employers of its kind in the UK. The programme is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the construction industry.
Working with a range of employers, the programme allows apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge by moving between companies of varying sizes which operate within different areas of the industry.
Its frameworks cover bricklaying, carpentry, electrical, plastering, plumbing, maintenance and refurbishment, painting and decorating and technical. Apprentices attend regional colleges while being offered practical work in various trades over two years.
The programme, which began in 2007 as a partnership developed in Carmarthenshire, was expanded in 2013 to also include Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
Last year, Cyfle Building Skills was named Medium Employer of the Year at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru and received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.
Set to be launched in January, 2019 is a mentoring programme for employers to improve the retention rate of the construction industry’s new entrants. More use of the Welsh language on building sites is also being promoted.
To provide a pathway for apprentices to develop into management roles, including building site supervisors and managers, Cyfle Building Skills is now delivering a Technical Apprenticeship.
The programme is proud of its diversity in the workplace, currently employing 10 female apprentices, including three who are working towards the Technical Apprenticeship.
Boasting an impressive retention rate of 95%, the programme has seen many of its original apprentices go on to start their own businesses and provide placements for a new generation of apprentices.
“I don’t consider an Apprenticeship to be just for the two years the apprentices are with the programme,” said Anthony Rees, Cyfle Building Skills’ regional manager. “It’s the start of lifelong learning.
“Apprenticeships bring new blood into the construction industry and all businesses need to harness fresh, new talent and creativity. Apprenticeships deliver skilled workers to future-proof a business.”
The Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programmes aim to provide the skilled workers that employers need for the future. Qualifications linked to hands-on training produces skilful and productive apprentices who possess the skills to adapt to new technology and working practices.
Employers wishing to engage with Apprenticeships should complete an expression of interest form on the Business Wales Skills Gateway https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/skills-and-training-programmes/apprenticeships
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “By becoming involved in Apprenticeships in Wales, employers are creating a more responsive, motivated workforce with the key skills and experience they need. Apprenticeships deliver real returns to the bottom line for businesses and help employers to improve productivity and to be more competitive.”
The Apprenticeships Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.