The national buying society is among 14 BMF members that have already committed to the initiative, with over 11,000 new apprenticeships pledged.

Leading independent builders’ merchants buying society NMBS has joined the Builders Merchants Federation in making the pledge to achieve 15,000 apprentices across the BMF membership by 2030.

The apprenticeship pledge aims to take control of the skills gap in the building materials industry and to drive the utilisation of Levy funds across the building materials sector.

NMBS is commemorating its 60th anniversary this year and has committed to recruiting 60 apprentices into the industry. The buying society is working with the BMF and LEAP to support both large and small members who want to take advantage of the many benefits of an apprentice.

With its membership currently standing at more than 1,230, spread over 4,700 branches across the UK, NMBS is a major player in the building supplies industry. Its members cover the full range of independent builders, plumbing and heating, hardware, tool and timber merchants.

NMBS is raising awareness among its members of the benefits of recruiting apprentices, which include:

  • 95% of fees completely covered by Government funding (England)
  • Cost-effective and productive way to grow and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce
  • Opportunity to adapt training according to business needs
  • Opportunity to expand and upskill the workforce

The BMF is inviting its members to join them in making the apprenticeship pledge. By doing so members will commit to increasing their own use of apprenticeships and agree to report their progress on a six-monthly basis, providing details of the number of apprentices currently in the business, and plans for future apprenticeships. 

NMBS is among 14 BMF members that have already committed to the initiative, with over 11,000 new apprenticeships pledged. 

Chris Hayward, NMBS CEO, said: "By collaborating with the BMF and LEAP, we aim to support our members, both large and small, in harnessing the numerous benefits of apprenticeships. Employing apprentices is a productive and effective way to cultivate a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce.

"It allows businesses to adapt training according to their specific needs and expand while upskilling their workforce. Together, we can bridge the skills gap and drive progress in the building materials sector."

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, added: “We are committed to professionalising our industry and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Many people still think of apprentices as young people entering the jobs market – but that is far from the case. 

"Of course, apprenticeships are one of the best ways to develop new recruits, but they are also an excellent way to motivate, upskill and retain existing staff as they move through different stages of their careers. 

“By making this pledge with our members, we will be sharing resources and learning, and holding each other to account to support our growing industry.”