The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

LEAP, which stands for "Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes," has expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award-winning training team, and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge, and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide an end-to-end recruitment and training service that is expected to significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer.

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme both in the Travis Perkins Group and in other businesses in the sector, including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies, and Wickes.

With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, and 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction, these apprenticeships are proving a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering 12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5, including Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), and Sales and Management.

As well as their apprenticeship programmes, LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens. 

“With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said: “Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP has developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. 

“These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. 

“We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.”