NHBC and GSQ Brickwork partnership

June 2024

NHBC and GSQ Brickwork partnership

About GSQ Brickwork

GSQ Brickwork are brickwork contractors specialising in new build housing, working with major house builders in London and across the South East. Established in 2008 and employing around 200 bricklayers, they are focussed on quality and customer satisfaction.

Tackling the skills shortage together 

In May 2024 the Construction Skills Network Industry Outlook highlighted the need for an additional 251,500 construction workers in the UK by 2028, equal to 50,300 more workers per year (an increase on the 45,000 in the 2023-2027 Outlook). This is an ambitious number against a backdrop of recruitment and training challenges.

And, when considered alongside the results from a Federation of Master Builders membership survey which found that 45% of builders were currently struggling to recruit bricklayers, it becomes clear that the house-building industry must look at ways to attract more people to bricklaying. 

Thankfully apprenticeships offer a practical and cost-effective route into the construction industry for both employers and apprentices.

Garry Staines, Managing Director of GSQ Brickwork Ltd explained “The industry is all too aware of the skills gap, and I don’t think that is going to be addressed by recruiting from family and friends alone, we need to recruit more widely. There’s a lot of discussion but there needs to be more action, more employers working with organisations like NHBC to close that skills gap.”

Working in partnership

Part of NHBC and GSQ Brickwork’s partnership approach has been to offer selection days at the training hub in Cambridge. These days provide prospective apprentices with the chance to visit the hub environment, try basic bricklaying tasks and understand what being a bricklayer entails.

They can also take the opportunity to have an informal interview to showcase their previous experience or any other relevant knowledge and skills they may have, as well as understand more about their potential employer’s expectations.

Garry said “Apprentices are central to our company’s plans for growth. Apprenticeships give you the ability to train people to perform their roles in line with your company’s standards, understand your way of working and hopefully build loyalty too. So getting a good apprenticeship provider in place really is key for us. I’ve been really impressed with the results of our partnership so far; we are getting great apprentices and NHBC benefit from employer feedback.”

Geoff Mann, Qualifications Manager at NHBC added “This partnership approach really is win-win for everyone and I would encourage more employers to consider it. It not only helps to address the skills gap in construction and build knowledge and understanding within businesses, it also creates a cost-effective talent pipeline. And, of course, apprentices get the opportunity to build a career in construction and earn while they learn.”

Building careers in construction  

An apprentice who has been at an NHBC Training Hub and finished their first five weeks is site ready, something NHBC tailored their programme to deliver to meet the needs of the house-building industry. This means an apprentice understands a site environment and can do basic tasks so they can be productive as soon as they arrive on site.

Garry explained “I think it can be demotivating for people to not be able to get started on their job once they are on a site, and of course, a site environment can be daunting. But the way NHBC have created training hubs that mirror a real site works brilliantly; it benefits the apprentice because they know what to expect and what to do, and it benefits the employer because when that apprentice arrives they understand a site environment and can be earning straight away.”

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