Skills shortages still a concern for faltering construction industry
Results from the 2013 skills audit from the CIOB indicate that the construction industry is still suffering from skills shortages.
82% of construction professionals who took part highlight the lack of skilled domestic construction personnel. Respondents cite the scarcity of high quality training and investment from both government and industry as being responsible for the skills shortage.
The 2013 report centres on the prevalence of skills shortages, apprenticeship recruitment and whether the industry is ready for new skills in initiatives and technologies relating to the Green Deal and Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Apprenticeships were identified by 90% of the sample as vital in plugging skills gaps within the industry. Encouragingly, respondents report an increase, compared to the 2011 CIOB skills survey in the number of organisations recruiting more apprentices (7%).
Further to this – of those that recruit apprentices – 58% indicate that apprenticeship training lasts 2 or more years. Of these recruits, 72% are offered permanent employment within the organisation past their scheduled training.
Michael Brown, Deputy Chief Executive at the CIOB said, “It is encouraging that there are still a number of construction companies taking on apprentices, particularly when many are suffering with reduced margins and workloads. Moreover, it is positive to see the construction industry delivering long-term apprenticeship training, with many being offered further opportunities to build upon these skills.”
41% of the sample believes that the construction workforce over the course of 2013/14 will decrease, as opposed to 18% believing the workforce will increase. This is reinforced with 53% of respondents indicating that their organisation has made redundancies in the past year.
44% of respondents felt that the construction workforce are not equipped with the right skills mix to take forward the Green Deal. 66% see a real need in training in order to build a green-focused workforce. Furthermore, shortages are evident in BIM with 59% stating that the workforce does not have the skills needed to work with BIM and 78% see training as a core issue.
“Initiatives and schemes such as BIM and the Green Deal are fast gaining traction within the industry. With the Government mandating Level 2 BIM as a minimum by 2016 companies risk being left behind unless they invest in training in order to join this movement” commented Michael Brown.
The report highlights the need to attract new talent and incentivise careers in construction. With new opportunities in BIM and the green agenda, now is the perfect time for government and the industry to work together and change some of the perceptions around the nature of the industry.
Chris Blythe has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Wolverhampton and is now an Honorary Doctor of Professional Practice.
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