The career options in our industry are limitless, but many don’t know what is possible or how it could benefit their long-term careers. Equally, others already working in our sector may be keen to progress but need financial support to further their development. Immediate Past Master Brian Blanchard explains the significance of WCoBM’s new bursary, introduced in partnership with the Rainy Day Trust.

Encouraging training, education & apprenticeships!

According to the City & Guilds Group, the UK construction industry is the fourth largest sector by turnover and the fifth largest by employment. Figures from the Construction Products Association confirm its significance and the contribution of our industry to employment and the economy. UK manufacturers and distributors provide jobs for 337,000 people across 23,818 companies, with an annual turnover of £60.2 billion. Builders’ merchants are at the heart of construction, supplying up to 85% of the built environment for homes, schools and hospitals through to larger infrastructure projects such as rail, ports and airports.

It’s an exciting industry for college students, school leavers and young apprentices with many opportunities to progress their careers or switch careers. Construction may be perceived as mainly ‘hard hats and high vis jackets’, and although that’s an important part of our sector, there’s a wide range of other exciting and rewarding jobs too, most of which people will not be aware of or associate with the industry.

At a time when construction is experiencing extreme skill shortages and facing an ageing working force, it’s important we do all we can to improve the image of construction and the understanding of what is possible in career development. It’s not a task for one single industry body or one large manufacturer. Collectively, as an industry, we should all be doing our bit to encourage individuals to develop their learning and explore the vast opportunities available in the merchant sector or working with a manufacturer.

Apprenticeships and training are vital components in attracting new talent into the sector and retaining them. They also provide an excellent platform for career progression and improving awareness of the many opportunities. So, working in partnership with the Rainy Day Trust (RDT), WCoBM is providing financial support to individuals looking to work in the merchant sector or with a supplier to a builders’ merchant. The bursary, worth up to £2,000 per person, is also available to those already employed in merchanting and wishing to improve their personal development or career in the industry. Applications for a bursary are open to:

  • Younger people in full-time education who wish to enter the builders’ merchant sector in any role;
  • Current apprentices in our industry;
  • Full or part-time employees at a builders’ merchant or working with a supplier to the builders’ merchant trade;
  • Individuals wishing to improve their career prospects within the industry.

Partnering with the RDT helps get us a step closer to improving the image of construction and attracting new skills. While WCoBM has the contacts and funding support, RDT has the means to assess applications, and develop and deliver the programmes to support individuals through their learning and development.

Successful bursary applications are subject to meeting specific criteria. To find out how you or a member of your staff can benefit from our bursary programme, download the full criteria and how to apply here.

For more information on our #BuildACareerWithoutLimits campaign, watch our videos here