Responding to the Spring Budget, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed recognition by the Chancellor that Britain cannot overcome low productivity without reform of the existing system of technical qualifications.

The BMF believes that the introduction of T-Levels is a step in the right direction but that more needs to be done to ensure the building industry is future-proofed.

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “The building industry and its supply chain are experiencing huge skills’ shortages. Construction firms, large and small, face real difficulty attracting new faces. Our industry is not seen by young people as a long-term career option, especially by young women.

“This week is National Apprenticeship Week and we ask ministers to look at what more can be done to encourage school and college-leavers to take up the trades we so desperately need – the bricklayers, the roofers, the carpenters, the electricians, the plasterers and the merchants.

“If the Chancellor’s announcement about T-levels helps redress the parity of esteem between academic and vocational training, then that is good news. Merchanting provides fantastic career opportunities for young people, and the BMF is keen to persuade parents that university is not always the right choice for their children.”