Skills gap crisis:

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Speaking at an Essex Chamber of Commerce event at South Essex College today, BiKBBI Patron, Member of Parliament and Aprenticeship Ambassador Stephen Metcalfe said that the “skills gap crisis is damaging our future development”, urging the UK to take vocational learning and apprenticeships seriously – mirroring comments made by PM Theresa May last month.

Delegates from a number of Essex based businesses attended the apprenticeship themed meeting this morning, charied by Essex Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Denise Rossiter. The meeting, held during National Apprenticeship Week 2018, gave businesses the opportunity to address Mr Metcalfe in his role as Apprenticeship Ambassador.

BiKBBI CEO addressed the meeting, urging the government to consider allowing Apprenticeship Levy payers to greater draw down upon their Levy pot to support its supply chain to recruit apprentices. Currently businesses can portion up to 10% of their Levy on the support of their supply chain, or in our industry, those sub-contracted installers who install on behalf of the retailer.

Damian said: “Our industry is facing a very real challenge as the skills gap crisis begins to bite”. He went on to say: “Wholesale positive change in our sector must be led by the national retailers, especially as they fall in scope of the newly introduced Levy. However, the government must consider ways in which to support these businesses to invest their Levy funds in areas most needed – developing the next generation of professional installers.”

BiKBBI Chief Executive confirmed the opening of it’s Centre of Excellence later this year, where it expects 20-30 new Apprentices to begin a fitted interiors career, starting with a Level 2 qualification. The new Centre of Excellence will be based at the Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) in Basildon Essex. Plans are to support training providers across the UK to develop their own Apprenticeship schemes.

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