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Skills Helen Tapper, FIS President, and Finance Director at Tapper Interiors, worries that the construction industry isn’t doing enough to train and retain its workforce, but, she says, perhaps we need to adapt and change our recruitment practices and procedures in the first place. TRAINING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE MIDST OF A LABOUR SHORTAGE 8 www.thefis.org I have always been, and continue to be, an advocate for training the workforce. A business, no matter how small, gains its reputation for quality and reliability from the service that is provided by every member of the workforce that the customer comes into contact with. This includes not only initial qualifications that allow you to perform your role, but also to CPD, which keeps you informed and better able to exercise your professional judgement. At Tapper Interiors, we have run a very successful apprenticeship programme for over 15 years, alongside OSAT NVQ assessments for those where an apprenticeship is not appropriate, or for those who have been performing a role for some years without gaining the relevant qualifications. Prior to the pandemic and Brexit (two events that occurred almost in unison), this apprenticeship programme provided us with a workforce that was suitably skilled but also diverse in terms of age range, abilities and skill sets. We utilised the original interior systems apprenticeship offered at NCC Bircham Newton and found that sending several apprentices at a time for the residential block release, encouraged comradeship and companionship and we benefitted from a high success rate and retention of employees. As a fit-out company, we also require carpenters, so we supplemented this apprenticeship with a local training provider who offered an apprenticeship in site carpentry. Running the two schemes side by side (particularly once the new interior systems installer apprenticeship was Now Get Qualified delivering drylining inspection Helen Tapper, FIS President

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