The UK construction industry is facing a major labour and skills crisis. Therefore, it is vital that more and more young people are encouraged to choose jobs within the sector.
The construction industry generates almost £90 billion annually and is a major sector of the UK economy, employing over 2.9 million people. This represents around 10% of UK jobs. But this is not enough. There are now not enough skilled workers to help keep the country on track with its housebuilding targets. Therefore, the industry needs to fulfil around 182,000 jobs by 2018.
The shortage has particularly become an issue in recent months. Nearly two-thirds of companies are reporting that they are struggling to hire bricklayers. According to the Federation of Master Builders within the SME construction sector, 55% are also finding it hard to source joiners and carpenters.
Not only this, but the current construction workforce are also ageing. There is a significant number of workers retiring, or due to retire, within the next ten years. A focus needs to be placed upon encouraging younger individuals to join the sector.
For young people, the construction industry isn’t seen as a glamorous sector to work in. It also tends to lose out to other industries that are better paid and more stable. Most individuals though merely don’t know about the type of jobs and the opportunities on offer in the sector. There is instead a preconception that the jobs are predominantly manual. This is not the case, though. There are many other career types available that could suit just about anyone, regardless of their skills.
Therefore, it has been recommended that action needs to be taken in changing these perceptions. There instead, needs to be better communication about the positives of working within the industry. The government has already invested over £1 billion in training and apprenticeship schemes. However, the industry itself now needs to play its part in attracting new workers and incentivising young people.
The National Construction Academy see this as an opportunity to provide the country with the next generation of construction workers, who will be highly trained to be an asset on site.
Thomas Marples, Head of the National Construction Academy commented: “The National Construction Academy offer a solution to the skills shortage in the bricklaying industry by providing young people with an opportunity to bridge the gap between their current abilities and what the construction industry requires of them. It is a fantastic chance to learn the trade while demonstrating to their employer just how valuable and influential a permanent employee they could be. We have already found our training has been highly successful for our pilot employers and Apprentices.
The National Construction Academy was launched earlier this year by its president, Nick Knowles. Our aim is to provide the link for young people looking to get into construction and for employers who have skills gaps that young people could become future experts in.
If you are an employer looking to understand how an Apprentice could be beneficial to your business, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.