The Insulated Render and Cladding Association (INCA) has launched a Specialist Apprenticeship Programme in external wall insulation (EWI), offering for the first time a recognised training programme for new entrants to the industry.

The new two-year programme, which has been developed in conjunction with ConstructionSkills, is aimed at growing the industry’s workforce whilst maintaining safe working practices and standards of competence.

There are over 7 million privately owned properties in the UK constructed with solid walls which need insulating to bring them up to the required standards of thermal performance, and increasing the size and skills base of the EWI workforce is vital, says INCA.

The apprenticeship will be delivered in modules with a mix of formal instruction off-site and supervised on the job training covering every aspect of the EWI trade such as the latest construction techniques, equipment and systems, and result in an NVQ level 2 in Insulating and Building Treatments (Construction) and a CSCS card in External Wall Insulation.

Seven candidates from INCA members Astley Facades
(Midlands) Ltd, E.ON Property Services, EWS (Essex) Ltd, Joyner Group PA (Cymru) Ltd and Renocon Ltd are participating in the pilot scheme which started in London on 17 January with a full week of off-site training.

Mike Threadgold, chairman of the INCA Training Committee, highlighted the importance of the apprenticeship to the industry:
“The ability of the EWI sector to meet increasing consumer demand is dependent on companies continuing to invest in their people. The new INCA Specialist Apprenticeship Programme will be at the forefront of training tomorrow’s workforce as we look to offer a competent and qualified workforce to our clients. With a potential 10-fold increase in installations of EWI every year, this is an exciting time for the industry and there has never been a better time for newcomers to get involved.”