The need for a dedicated apprenticeship programme was raised at the London Health and Safety Directors Forum recently.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has facilitated setting up an employer’s working group – SHE Apprenticeship Trailblazer – to address this gap in the market, while construction and civil engineering firm Costain has volunteered to lead it.
The working group includes representatives from Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Sisk, Persimmon Homes, Morrison Utilities, High Speed 2, Thames Water, Mitie and Sapa UK, but it is also seeking support from organisations outside the construction and engineering sector. The National Theatre, as well as emergency services, nuclear operators and specialist assessment bodies, have already come forward.
Extra support is being provided by bodies including IOSH, CITB, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, Engineering Construction Industry Association, and Unite the Union.
IOSH member Ian Nixon, who is Costain’s highways sector SHE manager and co-director of the company’s SHE Academy development programme, is chairing the working group.
He said: “The high level of interest from a wide range of industries regarding the new SHE apprenticeship has been fantastic and shows there is a real need for this across the country.
“Whilst the employer group has its roots with CITB in the construction sector, the core SHE apprenticeship will be suitable for any sector with pathways leading from the core elements to specialise in a particular sector, therefore we have been pleased to welcome members from a range of backgrounds.”
The expression of interest to set up the SHE apprenticeship was made to Trailblazers in January and the minister of state for apprenticeships and skills, Robert Halfon, approved it last month.
The Trailblazer programme allows groups of employers to join together to design apprenticeships that develop the skills of their current and future workforces.
From tomorrow (6 April), employers with a wage bill exceeding £3m will be required to contribute to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which will be used to fund new apprenticeships.