Scheme looks to address key challenges faced in the finishes and interior sector, including skills shortages

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A new £2.1m partnership has been agreed between the Finishes and Interiors Sector and the Construction Industry Training Board to attract people to the industry.

Finishes and Interiors Sector’s (FIS) Fit-out Futures programme will address key challenges faced in the finishes and interior sector, including skills shortages, lack of new entrants and difficulty in accessing quality training.

The programme has received £1.5m in funding from CITB and is designed to bring 1,500 new entrants into the sector by 2020.

Andrew Smith, FIS president, said: “Two years ago the FIS Board recognised the crisis in attracting skilled operatives to the fit-out sector and made skills development one of the three key strategic objectives of the organisation.

“This investment has paid off and FIS has now received funding to the value of £2.1m over the next three years to enable the delivery of large numbers of skilled tradespeople to our sector.”

The programme has three key goals, attracting students, retraining unemployed people to work in the sector and ensuring the entire workforce is CSCS carded by 2020. 

The Fit-out Futures strands


BuildBack has a target to get 980 unemployed people trained in drylining and into employment by 2020. BuildBack provides an opportunity for unemployed people to be retrained on a specialist upskilling programme for drylining at a local college over a two-week period, followed by two weeks of on-site work experience with an employer.

Further Education to Employment

This programme will focus on engaging with students to be the next generation of construction employees. The aim is to attract 352 candidates to undertake four weeks of work experience with an employer over a two-year period.

Sector Engagement

The third strand focuses on getting a fully carded workforce by 2020 by liaising with industry and students. The target is for 31,000 candidates to have been registered for any CSCS card that is relevant to the fit-out sector.