New apprenticeship scheme

The GGF is launching an apprenticeship scheme to help member companies recruit, train, and qualify apprentices.

Working in partnership with training experts Total Support Training, and the industry awarding body GQA Qualifications, the GGF Apprenticeship Scheme starts in January 2022 and 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,” John Agnew, GGF group managing director, said.

“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.”

The GGF decision was based on both the current landscape and feedback from GGF members.

The government’s strategies and targets for net zero between now and 2050, will require an estimated 500,000 additional skilled workers for the construction sector, including the glass, glazing and fenestration industries.

“From numerous 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 for example,” John said.

“In addition, the current government and local authority funding is for workers already in the industry with prior knowledge and not focused on people new to the industry.”

The scheme will start with a pilot with up to 20 apprentices in glazing and glass processing. Other pathways will follow in: fenestration, window film application, and fire-resistant glazing.

“If the pilot scheme for the Apprenticeship Scheme proves successful, we will aim to fund training for 200 apprentices,” John said.

Anda Gregory, GGF chief development officer, said: “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.”