The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has formed an accredited Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) that will help its members gain maximum benefit from the opportunities created by the Apprenticeship Reforms – whether or not they are required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.
BMF Apprenticeships Plus is an entirely new division of the BMF that utilises the expertise of an existing ATA, which has supported apprentice training for the Electrical Distribution Association (EDA) for the past five years. During that time EDA apprentice numbers have seen a six fold increase, rising from 54 in 2012 to 391 in 2016.
BMF Apprenticeships Plus is designed to remove potential administrative hurdles and make it easy for BMF members to take on apprentices in any job role. The BMF ATA qualifies as a levy payer and will act as the apprentices’ formal employer – taking full administrative responsibility – and place them with a host member. After the successful completion of the apprenticeship, employment is seamlessly transferred to the host member.
Another key aspect of the scheme is the flexibility it offers to both the host member and the apprentice. This is particularly helpful if merchants or suppliers are unable to commit to the length of time needed for a full apprenticeship. If the member company’s circumstances change during the apprenticeship BMF Apprenticeship Plus will aim to find alternative and appropriate employment for the apprentice. This also gives the apprentice the reassurance that they will complete their training and gain a qualification.
John Newcomb, BMF MD, said: “The experience of the EDA gives us confidence that establishing a sector specific BMF ATA will have far-reaching and positive consequences for the merchant sector. Removing the administrative burden and giving access to a far wider range of training will encourage members to increase their recruitment of young apprentices or take them on for the first time.”
BMF members will be able to continue to use their existing preferred training providers but they will also have access to a far wider portfolio of established and pre-vetted training providers covering all areas of the UK offering new qualifications and funded training opportunities.
Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director said: “BMF Apprenticeship Plus will enhance the appeal of merchanting as a career option. Young people entering the industry using this route are supported by a full employment contract and apprenticeship agreement that gives them the opportunity to train and be recognised as proficient across the range of skills that our members need, as well as providing increased security for the duration of their apprenticeship.”
To find out more about BMF Apprenticeship Plus contact James.Spillane@bmf.org.uk or on 02456 854980.