The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2 billion Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

The placements are among the first to be approved in the construction industry and the BMF is preparing to make a further application before Christmas to help more members participate in the scheme.

Kickstart is the government’s tool to enable UK employers to offer six-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. 

Some 60 member companies, including the BMF itself, have applied to participate in the scheme so far. The BMF’s Apprenticeship Plus team is now liaising with local DWP work coaches to find the best candidates for the initial placements.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our industry and find future talent, particularly amongst young people who have lost previous positions in retail due to the pandemic.”

The placements cover a range of assistant roles embracing the whole spectrum of merchanting - merchants yard, warehouse, trade counter, driver’s mate, accounts, HR and admin. Each role has a training programme attached covering employability skills, industry specific training and BMF Building Blocks.

The BMF will be submitting a further application for Kickstart supported placements before Christmas. Employers can claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. BMF Apprenticeship Plus provides a fully managed gateway service making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to participate.

Any BMF member who would like to be involved in the forthcoming Kickstart application should, email Carmen Daley at before the 17 December deadline.