With Brexit looming ever closer, the construction industry here in the UK is likely to be plagued by a skills shortage and estimates suggest that over the coming five years, 27,000 projects are likely to suffer from a lack of suitably skilled and qualified workers as EU migrant workers find it more and more difficult to work in the UK. An analysis carried out by the leading rail and construction consultancy, One Way suggests that the skills shortages will only be solved if employers are proactive and go above and beyond the call of duty in order to secure a skilled, qualified team of UK staff to work on their contracts in future and are advocating a three pronged approach as follows:
Promoting a More Positive Image of the Industry to the Public
You would be surprised how few people outside of the construction industry know just how much potential a career in construction holds. With the main stereotype of construction workers digging ditches in cold, muddy conditions and in adverse weather conditions, it’s no surprise that a career in construction isn’t seen as a particularly great decision for youngsters. However, construction work involves so many different types of work – there are skilled tradesmen who are among the most trusted professionals in Britain and that’s just for starters! Construction projects need quantity surveyors whose skills are similar to those of an accountant, architects and designers, project managers, site managers, etc. For all of those working in construction, it’s an opportunity to work on exciting new projects that will change the infrastructure of Britain.
Improving Gender Diversity
While more women are being attracted into a career in construction, especially since the launch of the #GirlsAllowed campaign, there are still not enough which means that virtually half the available workforce do not consider construction as a viable career option. We need to make the sector more inclusive in future if we aim to attract more women into the construction industry. There is plenty of work available and a construction industry with more women and girls is likely to be an industry that is more interesting and fulfilling to work in.
Widen the Talent Pipleines into Construction
This will only happen if we improve the image of the construction industry as a whole. While few youngsters currently actively seek out a career in construction, we need companies to go into schools and colleges to speak to children and young people about what a career in construction is actually like in reality. We need inspiring role models who will encourage children to consider construction as a career, role models who will spread the word about all the exciting and rewarding job opportunities in the building trade.
Let’s start 2018 with the aim of raising awareness about the construction industry, the skills shortage it currently faces and with a determination to address these problems and finish the year looking to a brighter future for construction in Britain as more young people finally realise how many cool opportunities there are in our sector.