#NAW2016 - Addressing the skills shortage

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“One of the biggest threats to the government’s infrastructure plans is the skills shortage in construction. The need to plug the skills gap and attract more people into construction careers is even greater in light of a possible Brexit, as many companies in the sector rely on skilled workers from Europe. Without a significant investment in construction apprenticeships in the UK we will be unable to deliver the significant pipeline of projects necessary to provide for a rapidly growing population. The construction sector must also work harder to make construction apprenticeships attractive to women. A diverse workforce is a more insightful workforce and we need role models in construction as well as more visibility of opportunities in the sector.

“According to data from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, those starting an apprenticeship across construction, planning and the built environment stood at 18,000 in 2014/2015, up from 16,000 in 2013/2014. The increase is certainly positive but we should do more, particularly in light of the fact that, according to the Construction Skills Network, the annual recruitment requirement for 2015-2019 will be an estimated 44,690 a year up from 36,400 in 2014. This equates to the recruitment of 223,450 skilled individuals over the next five years. Some of the biggest deficits include bricklayers, of which 15,350 are needed by 2019, and those working in the wood trades and interior fit-out, which requires 21,300 recruits.

“The public sector has an important role to play in boosting apprenticeship take up and both the public and private sectors must work together to promote apprenticeships and bridge the gap. Procurement frameworks have wider benefits beyond time and cost savings; they impose key performance indicators relating to skills. For example, together with our delivery partners, our national frameworks have created 27,000 apprenticeship weeks to date which is the equivalent of 563 full time apprentices. Adopting a holistic and coordinated approach will allow us to address the skills deficit together, which in turn will result in robust service outcomes for the public and private sectors alike.”

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Written by:

Mark Robinson

Group Chief Executive