The construction industry skills shortage has been widely reported for many years now, and with a significant proportion of the existing workforce rapidly approaching retirement age, innovative solutions are required to prevent existing knowledge and resource gaps from widening any further.
With estimates suggesting that the construction industry needs up to 25,000 more workers to achieve the government's aims and objectives with regard to homebuilding, infrastructure and carbon efficiency projects, there is a distinct shortage of industry entrants waiting to assume these roles.
Are Regional Construction Skills Hubs the answer?
Shining a beacon of hope, however, is the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) which has recently announced that it is investing £1M in developing regional construction skills hubs in the Black Country, along the East Coast, in Northwest England, Scotland, South Wales and the Solent.
These locations have been strategically selected as industrial cluster hotspots, which form the heart of the UK's ambitious decarbonisation plans. It is hoped that this investment will provide valuable training opportunities to new entrants and established construction workers. It will also promote the meaningful careers that exist in construction to a new generation of entrants and encourage young people who are leaving education to consider pursuing a career within the industry.
The talent that enters the industry through this pipeline will be offered the opportunity to engage in exciting projects and next-gen technologies, to learn from the experience of established construction professionals and to contribute to future decarbonisation discoveries. They will be able to use transferable skills that they have acquired in related fields such as IT and engineering and continually develop their own knowledge and experience, such that they can deploy widely within the industry, adding value and mapping out a long-term career path.
It is intended that this project will attract and secure high calibre new industry entrants who bring with them youth, enthusiasm and curiosity. By providing financial grants to eligible projects and incentivising businesses to support the endeavour, the aim is that training equipment and facilities can be upgraded to meet the needs of modern entrants while training and secondment opportunities will open doors and highlight the development opportunities that are available within the construction industry.
Overcoming the stigmas and stereotypes with which the industry has been tarnished will take a concerted effort, but schemes such as this are an incredibly positive move, refining entry criteria and highlighting the opportunities that exist for talented candidates to add value in a number of different and socially and politically relevant roles.
Will this scheme go far enough?
£1M does not buy much these days, and it is unlikely that Regional Construction Skills Hubs alone will be the saviour of the industry. What they will do, however, is pave the way for other educationally-aligned organisations to promote their offerings, to enhance their brands and to appeal to a new generation of job-seekers.
By understanding the motivations of modern candidates and creating a compelling narrative that aligns with their beliefs and aspirations, it will be possible to entice environmentally conscious individuals into an industry which may previously have seemed to them to be impenetrable or unwelcoming.
Decarbonisation is a global issue and the UK construction industry must play its part in reducing the effects of global warming. This is a hot topic amongst Gen Z, so highlighting the industry's plans for decarbonising the current and future built environment and its commitment to pursuing innovative technologies, tools and techniques is essential to attract candidates who share this vision and want to be a part of a better tomorrow.
The message that construction is far more than bricks and mortar is slowly seeping out, but more must be done, and collaboration between government departments, industry leaders and educational facilities is essential to change the narrative, to explain the way in which the industry is embracing technology, looking for more effective ways of achieving its outcomes and creating a diverse and inclusive working environment.
Only through adjusting the message will mindsets be changed and success in welcoming new entrants achieved.
Contact us today
To secure the professional talent that you need to make your decarbonisation projects a reality, please contact Build Space today. We have access to a talent pool of highly skilled personnel who are experienced and available to support your business, on both freelance and permanent contracts.