The move will bolster construction and housing apprenticeships and support job sector shortages.

Howdens, the UK’s number one trade kitchen supplier, has announced its partnership with EN:Able Futures CIC, a Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Service, to provide them with the essential funding they need to allow many apprentices to succeed in their chosen careers.  

The pilot scheme comes as the UK trade skills shortage continues to rise, with reports showing that 80% of homeowners planned on carrying out home improvements this year amidst the biggest drop in skilled workers since 2017. 

All new apprentices require Apprenticeship Levy to commence their apprenticeship. Initially, this new scheme will enable Howdens, who have run their own internal established apprenticeship programme for ten plus years, to transfer their apprenticeship levy to EN:Able Futures to support the creation of many new apprenticeships. Without this levy share from Howdens, these newly created apprenticeships would not materialise, so it is the start of a great partnership. 

The second stage of the scheme is designed to encourage and support Howdens’ customers to recruit and train their apprentices, addressing the UK skills shortage within construction, specifically kitchen installation.

Working to bridge the gap between supply and demand, the scheme will offer Howdens’ customers the information and support they need to develop and employ apprentices through one of two routes. 

The first will be through direct employment and the second through shared employment between the customer and EN:Able Futures. The second option will see EN:Able Futures co-ordinating the process, providing mentoring support and pastoral care for apprentices once employed.

Jo Blackham, Learning and Development Manager at Howden, said: “Our hope is that by transferring some of our levy we can help to increase the apprenticeship opportunities within the construction industry and also provide an easier route by which our customers can introduce apprentices to the trade industry and nurture their skills, we can do our bit in supporting the trade industry by easing current pressures due to trade skill shortages.”

Since 2013 EN:Able Futures has employed 410 apprentices, worked with 110 different host companies and partnered with 43 colleges and training providers.