The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed the National Merchant Buying Society’s (NMBS) 50th Anniversary pledge to bring at least 50 new apprentices into the industry.

Didac, the training company running the anniversary initiative on behalf of the NMBS, is the contracted provider of the BMF’s long-established Apprenticeship scheme. The BMF currently has over 100 apprentices on the scheme, and managing director John Newcomb is delighted that at least 50 more young people will be joining them and taking their first steps on a career in merchanting.

The BMF has a long history of developing merchant-specific training courses to support career development, from Level 2 apprenticeships through to degree-level management courses.

Despite difficult economic conditions, demand for training is increasing each year. Last year, 22 students enrolled for the BMF’s management Diploma in Merchanting and that number is expected to increase to 50 candidates in 2013, making it the highest ever intake. This year also sees the launch of a further level of management training for Diploma graduates, the BMF’s Foundation Degree in Merchanting developed in conjunction with the University of the West of England, and the first students begin their degree-level studies.

Mr Newcomb said: “Encouraging bright young people into the industry is essential to its long-term success and I warmly welcome any initiative that works with merchants to promote the career opportunities available to enthusiastic school-leavers.

“A government grant of £1,500 per apprentice is available to any merchant who meets certain criteria, whether they enter their apprenticeship under the NMBS anniversary initiative or through the usual BMF channels.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the apprenticeship scheme should contact either one of the BMF’s regional managers or NMBS.