Construction Industry skills shortage is still an Issue
The Construction Industry Training Board’s Construction Skills Network Forecast predicts that employment within the construction sector will grow year on year until at least 2022. The projections suggest that we could see significant employment increases in the North West, South West and South East of England as well as double-digit growth in Wales.
Estimates also suggest that overall growth in the sector is likely to lead to 158,000 new construction-based jobs being created over the next five years. However, the current lack of skilled people raises doubts about whether these roles can be filled. It is therefore vital that more people enter the construction sector to meet these demands, especially as the UK government has set a target to build 300,000 new homes every year in the UK until 2020.
UK government has set a target to build 300,000 new homes every year in the UK until 2020
Specialist skills are needed in almost all new build, maintenance and refurbishment jobs and are therefore integral to the progression of projects. The shortage could cause repercussions for the industry. For example, low numbers of skilled personnel such as fire system installers, designers and engineers, who are key to ensuring that a building and its occupants are safe from fire, could cause delays in projects.
UK government launched a £22m Construction Skills Fund
A new government fund could help. In June this year, the UK government launched a £22m Construction Skills Fund, which aims to close the gap between training and working by enabling people to learn their trade on live construction sites. The 18-month scheme is being funded by the Department of Education and run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The fund will support:
- 20 on-site training hubs
- Work experience and placements for those looking to join the industry
- Entry pathways for the unemployed
- Entry pathways for those changing careers
Construction Industry Training Schemes
Other initiatives, such as BuildForce, are also in place to help people move into construction-based trades. BuildForce offers members of the armed forces the mentoring and training that they need to transfer into the building sector when they leave the service. It has so far seen 100 ex-armed forces personnel take on a new role. However, with 14,000 people leaving the forces every year, there is still significant potential if the industry is promoted to these highly qualified individuals.
With workloads increasing, the skills shortage is an issue critical for the future of the industry as a whole and the wider economy. It is therefore vital that more specialist skilled workers are entering the construction industry.
If initiatives such as the Construction Skills Fund and BuildForce are successful, this would ease the current strains on construction companies by ensuring that work demands can be met and delays to projects are prevented.