Boosting the quality and quantity of apprenticeships through construction SMEs will be the key focus of the new national president of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Gary Lewis was elected national president of the FMB on 10 September at the National AGM and Conference in Newport, Wales.

“I’ve always been extremely passionate about passing on my knowledge to the next generation and ensuring that we have enough skilled workers in the construction sector,” said Mr Lewis. “FMB members are already playing a pivotal role in improving the quality of apprenticeships through the development of two new Trailblazer standards in bricklaying and plastering.”

Mr Lewis said that root and branch changes to apprenticeship policy are on the horizon with the implementation of the new Apprenticeship Levy and the corresponding reforms to the Construction Industry Training Board levy. He believes that these fundamental changes could make or break the quality and quantity of apprenticeship training and therefore it’s vital that the FMB ensures that the new system works for smaller firms.

Mr Lewis continued: “As the FMB celebrates its 75th year, it’s an enormous privilege to play my part in the leadership of an organisation that stands for quality and professionalism in the building industry. In recent years, the FMB has made great strides forward in terms of introducing independent inspections and ensuring that membership really means something. However, there’s more we can do in terms of ensuring the wider public know and understand why they should work with a Master Builder.”