NAW 2024: NMBS marks National Apprenticeship Week with call for more apprentices

NAW 2024: NMBS marks National Apprenticeship Week with call for more apprentices

To mark this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, the National Merchant Buying Society is calling on employers in the builders’ merchant sector to take advantage of government funding to re-skill staff and onboard new recruits through apprenticeships.

NMBS is working with construction apprenticeships specialist LEAP to train scores of builders’ merchant apprentices each year to help address the skills gap in the construction sector. And to facilitate the process, the Government provides up to 95% funding for employers to hire someone new or upskill an existing employee, allowing businesses to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

The NMBS apprentices are distributed across member companies, including well-known names such as Gardner and Scardifield, Yard Direct and Silverton Builders Merchants. These apprenticeships are providing a mix of fresh talent entering the industry along with experienced professionals looking to enhance their skills and advance their careers.

NMBS has been a key player in supporting the Builders Merchants Federation’s ambitious pledge to have 15,000 apprentices across its membership by 2030. This initiative, launched in June 2023, aims to address the skills gap in the building materials industry and maximise the use of levy funds across the sector.

Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, said: “Our apprenticeship recruitment drive is making a significant contribution to addressing the skills shortage in the construction industry and represents a strategic investment in the future.

“By welcoming fresh talent and enhancing the skills of experienced staff, apprenticeships not only secure fulfilling careers for individuals but also deliver substantial benefits to employers. Through apprenticeships, employers save on recruitment costs and foster diversification across teams, leading to increased retention rates and heightened staff satisfaction.”

One outstanding example of the success of this recruitment campaign is 18-year-old Ethan Edwards from Colchester (pictured). Ethan’s journey into the industry began after completing his A-levels in 2022. Initially trying his hand as a chef, he quickly realised the lack of opportunities for progression in that field. Undeterred, he continued his search and found the apprenticeship route appealing for its practical learning and career advancement possibilities.

Ethan joined Silverton Builders Merchant in Colchester as an apprentice in September 2023, seeking training and work experience without the potential financial burden of university education.

Reflecting on his experiences, Ethan expressed his satisfaction with the diverse opportunities available in the industry. His day-to-day activities involve loading and unloading vehicles, picking and packing orders, serving customers and processing invoices.

Ethan acknowledged the crucial role played by his mentor, Jonathon Hill, in supporting him and building his confidence throughout his apprenticeship. The balance between work and study has also been a key highlight.

Ethan said: “I feel that I am building a strong foundation for my future career, and that I have a lot of options and opportunities ahead of me.”

The apprenticeships on offer through NMBS are tailored to the specific needs of the builders’ merchant industry, and include courses ranging from Level 2 to 7 in such disciplines as credit control and collection, software development, warehouse operations, project management, sales, and HR support, among others.

For more information on NMBS apprenticeships, visit:

Full list of LEAP apprenticeship programmes:

  • Trade Supplier Apprenticeship (Level 2)
  • Warehouse Operations Apprenticeship (Level 2)
  • Team Leader (Level 3)
  • Fitted Furniture (Level 3)
  • Sales Professional (Level 4)
  • Foundation Degree in Merchant Management (Level 5)
  • LGV Driver (Level 2)
  • Credit Controller and Collector (Level 2)
  • Software Development Technician (Level 3)
  • Learning and Development Practitioner (Level 3)
  • Improvement Technician
  • HR Support (Level 3)
  • Supply Chain Practitioner (Level 3)
  • Data Literacy (Level 3)
  • Advanced Credit Controller/Debt Collection Specialist (Level 3)
  • Improvement Practitioner (Level 4)
  • Project Management (Level 4)
  • Data Fellowship (Level 4)
  • Learning and Development Consultant (Level 5)
  • HR Consultant/Partner (Level 5)
  • Improvement Specialist (Level 5)
  • Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6)
  • Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (Level 7)
  • Accountancy Professional (Level 7)

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