The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has launched the BMF Apprenticeship Pledge with a stated aim of achieving 15,000 apprentices across the BMF membership by 2030.

The initiative aims help the building materials sector take control of the skills gap it faces and drive take up of apprenticeship levy funds.

The pledge has been created both to highlight the BMF’s commitment to apprenticeships and to promote them not only as an excellent way to train new recruits to the industry, but also as an alternative pathway to support the development of more experienced staff looking to gain new skills or to move into a different role.

The BMF is inviting its members to take the BMF Apprenticeship Pledge. By doing so members will commit to increasing their own use of apprenticeships and agree to report their progress on a six-monthly basis, providing details of the number of apprentices currently in the business, and plans for future apprenticeships. Those making the pledge will also help to educate the wider industry on the importance of apprenticeships as a key route for developing new talent and upskilling existing colleagues.

The BMF Apprenticeship Pledge was announced at the BMF All Industry Conference earlier this month. Fourteen members have already committed to the initiative, with over 11,000 new apprenticeships pledged. 

The companies are:

  • ACO Technologies
  • BPS – Building & Plumbing Supplies
  • Bradfords Building Supplies
  • Browns Builders Merchants
  • ETupling
  • Harlow Timber Group
  • Henshaws Roofing & Building Supplies
  • IBMG – Independent Builders Merchant Group
  • Kerridge Commercial Systems
  • Lords Trading Group
  • MKM Building Supplies
  • Merritt & Fryers
  • NMBS – National Merchant Buying Society
  • Travis Perkins

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “We are committed to professionalising our industry and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Many people still think of apprentices as young people entering the jobs market – but that is far from the case. 

“Of course, apprenticeships are one of the best ways to develop new recruits but they are also an excellent way to motivate, upskill and retain existing staff as they move through different stages of their careers.  

“By making this pledge with our members, we will be sharing resources and learning, and holding each other to account to support our growing industry.”

Accountability is an important element of this initiative and the fact that members committing to the pledge will share details of their progress every six months will help create accurate statistics for apprenticeships in building material supply, as Kerry Wilson, BMF Learning & Development Manager, explained:

“The roles in building materials supply are very different from others in the construction industry and our apprenticeships are not included in the figures for construction. 

“The commonly utilised trade supplier apprenticeship, for example, falls under the sales category, with team leader sitting under retail and hospitality.

“Over the next 7 years we have a fantastic opportunity to build a reliable statistical overview of the apprenticeship take up in our industry.”