NMBS has achieved its target to recruit 60 apprentices in its 60th Anniversary year – and is now set on reaching 100 new recruits by February 2024.

The apprentices are studying at NMBS members Gardner and Scardifield Ltd, YARD Direct and Silverton Builders Merchants Ltd, as well as other merchants throughout England, Wales, and Scotland.

Of the 60 apprentices, there is a mix of newcomers stepping into the world of construction, and experienced industry professionals further honing their skills and advancing in their careers.

NMBS is also supporting the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) pledge to achieve 15,000 apprentices across the BMF membership by 2030. This initiative was launched in June 2023 to help take control of the skills gap in the building materials industry while ensuring levy funds across the sector are fully used.

Dean Hayward, head of sales & marketing of NMBS, said: "Achieving our target to onboard 60 new apprentices during our 60th anniversary year is a great achievement, and we have extended our ambition to recruit 100 new apprentices this year.

"These apprentices are not only gaining structured training and practical experience but are also fostering a deep sense of engagement within their roles.

“We know the construction sector is suffering a skills gap, with the Construction Industry Training Board estimating 225,000 workers will be needed by 2027 to meet demand. Apprenticeships are a vital part of that solution.

"Together with support from the Builders Merchants Federation, we want to grow the apprenticeship offering further and faster to help narrow the skills gap in the construction industry."

Nineteen-year-old Joshua Purcell from Clacton-On-Sea, who started his apprenticeship with Silverton Builders Merchants in September, shared his experience of being on the apprenticeship programme.

He said: “Apprenticeships are the way forward, especially in the construction industry as college can only teach you so much. It cannot give you experience, like dealing with customers with a problem or questions, or using business management software such as the Kerridge system to perform real-time transactions.

“The fact that you get both experience and a qualification makes it worth every minute spent doing the apprenticeship. There’s also a lot of room to figure out what you’re looking for and what suits you. Personally, this is the most satisfied I have been within education and employment since I started working.”

The LEAP programmes are designed around specific builders’ merchant industry and construction sector needs and include Level 2 to 7 courses in credit control and collection, software development, warehouse operations, project management, sales, and HR support, among others.