Construction employers have come together to design a new apprenticeship standard aimed at ensuring the next generation of workers have the skills they need to succeed.

The standard for plastering has been approved as part of the trailblazer initiative, which was set up to encourage business leaders to join forces to improve on-the-job training.

It will be followed by a new standard for bricklaying set to be agreed in the near future, with both standards expected to be operational as early as 2017.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said the developments would help to equip the workforce of the future with essential skills and knowledge.

He said: “We believe that the new standards we are developing will ensure that future generations of bricklayers and plasterers will not only have excellent technical knowledge and craft skills, but will result in young people with careers that are packed full of potential.”

The standards were created as part of a collaborative process involving small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in construction, training providers and awarding bodies.

This is said to be particularly important, as two thirds of the apprentices entering the construction sector are estimated to be trained by SMEs.

Trailblazer apprenticeships form part of the Government’s efforts to create three million new apprenticeship places by the end of the decade.

They are said to put employers in the driving seat, helping to ensure that training meets the needs of business, as well as giving a vital career boost to trainees.

Welcoming news of the new standards, Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “By giving leading employers the power to design and deliver high-quality apprenticeships, we are giving people the vital skills our businesses need.

“We are committed to three million apprenticeships by 2020 because apprenticeships deliver benefits to employers, apprentices and the economy.”