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Construction Update: addressing construction skills shortages

Thursday 14th September
Construction Update: addressing construction skills shortages

Construction is a major engine of the UK economy, employing 2.7 million people and contributing 8% output to the economy. Recruiting a skilled workforce is one of the construction industry’s biggest challenges, so what help is available for contractors?

Seventy-five per cent of contractors have issues recruiting skilled employees, according to a survey from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA). Despite contractors experiencing an eighth quarter of successive growth in workloads, three-quarters reported issues recruiting skilled talent.

Commenting, CECA Chief Executive Alasdair Reisner said: “There has been a persistent skills gap in our industry for many years, but in the current economic climate, the discrepancy between the skills level of the workforce, and the pipeline of projects we plan to deliver, has reached alarming proportions.  

The Climate Change Committee’s latest report to Government states that retrofitting (de-carbonising) the UK’s 28 million homes is a priority because a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions come from housing.

The opportunities presented by retrofitting are huge, but it will require a highly skilled workforce to deliver net zero targets. The Construction Industry Training Body‘s (CITB) research says the construction industry needs 266,000 skilled workers to meet net-zero labour needs over the next five years. 

Government support for the green industrial revolution 

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has outlined a Skills Plan to help construction firms tackle skills shortages within the industry. The CLC’s plan aims to help meet employers’ demand for skilled workers, training and retaining people, ensuring competency, and expanding the career appeal of construction and built environment while also training experienced workers to train others.

The Construction Leadership Council has developed a range of projects for 2023-24, including:   

  • The launch of a new competence approach to ensure there is an accepted, accredited definition of competence for all construction and built environment occupations.   
  • Expansion of the new entrant apprenticeships and a new mentoring standard to increase the number of apprenticeships.    
  • The launch of Phase 1 of the Career Pathway Hub, an online portal aimed at defining high-value career pathways for net zero, digitalisation, smart construction and repair maintenance and improvement.   
  • A pilot scheme to give schoolchildren a chance to learn about a career in construction

The CLC stressed that it is “clear that accelerated progress is needed” to have 30,000 TrustMark-accredited retrofit coordinators by 2028. The target was set out in the body’s Construct Zero performance framework, which it described as the industry’s response to the Government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution 

For more information or to read the Skills Plan in full, please visit the CLC website.

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