Monmouthshire County Council’s community interest company CMC2 and housing association Melin Homes have joined forces to form a £2.5million shared apprenticeship scheme in a bid to address the skills shortfall within the construction industry.
Deputy Minister for Skills Jeff Cuthbert joined representatives from Melin Homes and CMC2 on Monday 18th March at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to launch the south east Wales shared apprenticeship scheme, Y Prentis. The innovative training scheme is backed by CITB - ConstructionSkills Wales with the Welsh Government and has been established to meet the growing demand for a more flexible approach to apprenticeships in south east Wales. The launch allowed industry representatives and apprentices employed via Y Prentis to demonstrate their achievements to date.
Reflecting the needs of industry, the scheme guarantees young people a two-year apprenticeship with the flexibility to move between a number of employers to gain a full apprenticeship qualification. It enables employers to offer a proportion of an apprenticeship without having to commit to the full term, which is becoming increasingly difficult with the rise in short term projects or contracts which don’t offer appropriate training and work experience.
The scheme is sponsored by the Welsh Government and CITB-ConstructionSkills Wales, the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for construction and managed by Melin Homes and CMC2. It will offer 105 craft apprenticeships including brickwork, joinery, plastering and infrastructure and civil engineering, with training and work placements provided by local colleges and a number of local employers including Melin Homes, Cowlin, Leadbitter and Interserve.
Speaking at the launch Jeff Cuthbert, Deputy Minister for Skills, said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of business effectiveness. They increase the skill set of the workforce and make Wales a more attractive place to do business. This is why we strongly believe in apprentices and have a number of programmes in place to support them”.
“The Y Prentis Shared Apprenticeship Scheme offers an innovative solution to training the workforce in today’s challenging climate and I commend all of those involved.”
Wyn Prichard, Wales Director of CITB-ConstructionSkills, added: “We are delighted to be involved with the Y Prentis Shared Apprenticeship Scheme in South East Wales. It is just one of the many ways that we are listening and responding to industry concerns regarding skills shortages and the employment of apprentices during tough economic times. The scheme demonstrates that industry, government and education are prepared to look at innovative approaches to training to overcome these issues. It will also help us to attract new talent to the industry by ensuring training opportunities are available.”
Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council said: “The Y Prentis Shared Apprenticeship Scheme offers our young people an invaluable opportunity to gain entry into the construction industry. Employing apprentices often becomes a great financial and time burden for small companies. However, shared apprenticeships where apprentices can be employed by schemes like Y Prentis can alleviate these issues as well as addressing South East Wales’ construction skills needs, making the industry in this area a more stable one. I hope to see many of these young apprentices being employers in the future.”
Under the scheme, apprentices will undertake a one or two month work placement with an employer before moving onto the next employer. They will continue this for two to three years until they have completed their apprenticeship.
For more information on how to become involved in the Shared Apprenticeship Scheme, either as an apprentice or employer, please call Mark Whitby on 07767 244871.