Fresh talent needed or skills shortage looms, report warns

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 17 February 2015 in News
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A report by the CITB, Educating the Educator, report suggests that an industry skills shortage could be further exacerbated as 35 per cent of careers advisers believe that construction is an unattractive career prospect for young people

Construction needs to reform its image to attract the best talent or risk a massive skills shortage, a study has found.

A report by the CITB, Educating the Educator, report suggests that an industry skills shortage could be further exacerbated as 35 per cent of careers advisers believe that construction is an unattractive career prospect for young people.

CITB along with the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) is calling for perceptions of the construction industry to be radically changed in order to attract the fresh talent it needs to grow sustainably.

Both have called on parents, teachers and careers advisers to encourage their children and pupils to pursue a career in the UK construction industry. This comes as CITB predicts that over 220,000 workers will be needed by the industry by 2019 in order to meet demand.

Both organisations, along with a number of the UK’s leading construction contractors, are giving young people the opportunity to experience construction first hand as part of the third annual Open Doors weekend.

The event which offers takes place between 6-7 March 2015 and will give young people the chance to explore the wide range of construction careers available to them. This will include glimpses of traditional roles like bricklaying and quantity surveying, and also lesser known roles like site health and safety management, environmental management and interior design.

The weekend also offers delegates the opportunity to explore some of the UK’s most iconic projects including Crossrail in London; the Forth Bridge Replacement Crossing in Scotland and the Hitachi Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in County Durham. It is hoped that the weekend will get young people from different genders, backgrounds and abilities to start thinking about the rewarding and exciting careers they could pursue in the industry.

UKCG director Stephen Ratcliffe said: “Perceptions of the construction industry are still very much stuck in the past. Many people, including parents, teachers and careers advisers, still see it as offering very limited career opportunities for young people in what is often seen as a physically demanding and male-dominated industry. As long as these negative perceptions remain, the industry will find it extremely hard to recruit the fresh talent it so desperately needs – potentially threatening to derail the growth the industry is predicted to see in the coming years.

“In order to give young people a taste of some of the rewarding careers they could pursue, we have partnered up with construction contractors from across the UK to open up the doors of some of the biggest construction projects taking place at the moment. We hope that by showing young people first-hand the many roles that go towards creating some of the nation’s most iconic construction projects, we can inspire them to enter our growing industry further down the line.”

Andy Walder, education, training and skills development director at CITB, said: “We’re proud to be supporting UKCG with its third annual Open Doors weekend. The event offers a great opportunity for young people – and also their parents and teachers – to gain insight as to what the construction industry can offer in terms of long and rewarding careers. We hope that young people will be able to see how their many passions and interests could one day translate into a career in the construction industry.

“Although the Open Doors weekend is designed to be fun and informative, there is a very serious issue underlying the weekend – this being to get more young people thinking about a career in an industry which desperately needs fresh talent in order to meet the demands of the future.”

To find out more information about the Open Doors weekend and the sites you can visit in your local area visit: http://opendoorsweekend.co.uk/

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