The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) is set to launch an apprenticeship scheme from January 2022, aiming to help its member companies recruit, train and qualify apprentices. Working in partnership with training experts, Total Support Training, and the fenestration industry’s awarding body, GQA Qualifications, the GGF’s apprenticeship scheme specifically aims to fund training for apprentices of up to £4,000 per GGF member company.
“In the current landscape for skills and labour, all companies are struggling to recruit new people into the industry,” explained John Agnew, GGF Group’s managing director. “Currently, apprenticeships are not working effectively for the glazing sector. The investment from the GGF will be an incentive for GGF members to take on apprentices and to ensure they are trained and qualified to a level of competence that makes apprentices assets, not liabilities to a business.”
According to the GGF, the UK government’s aim to meet net zero carbon emissions between now and 2050 will require roughly 500,000 additional skilled workers for the construction sector, which of course includes the glass and glazing sectors. John added: “From meetings and discussions with GGF members, it is clear that they are finding agency staff are not always the long-term solution to their skills requirements, and existing apprenticeship schemes do not offer training on glazing and glass processing. In addition, the current government and local authority funding is for workers already in the industry with prior knowledge, and is not focused on people new to the industry.”
The GGF’s apprenticeship scheme aims to set a clear career pathway towards attracting new people into the sector, including those leaving school and/or college. The training funding is to be based around the GGF’s Glazing Manual, which it claims contains most accurate and up to date technical information and guidance.
Companies wanting to take part in the GGF’s apprenticeship scheme must appoint a dedicated mentor for the apprentice, to help steer the apprentice through training and qualifications. Funding will apply to apprentices who are employed by a GGF member.
Employers receiving GGF funding through this scheme must also commit to the balance of training costs. The funding will be linked to milestone achievements (measured by qualifications, assessment and skills), and will cover two years of the apprenticeship.
The GGF’s apprenticeship scheme aims to begin with a pilot with up to 20 apprentices. “If the pilot scheme proves successful, we will aim to fund training for 200 apprentices,” said John.
“The GGF is making the funding and framework available but the success of this initiative is dependent on GGF Members taking advantage of this incentive, to recruit new people to the industry and train them to professional levels. It is a long term strategy and exclusive to GGF members at present.”
Anda Gregory, the GGF’s chief development officer, added: “This is a really exciting initiative and one that our members and the wider industry have been crying out for. It leverages the GGF’s technical and health, safety and environment experts’ knowledge, to create something that will really work for our industry. It’s the first of many developments we are working on for the good of the industry to help tackle the skills shortage.”