BSRIA survey shows construction sector needs more vocational training


A recent BSRIA survey found that 78% of member companies were having trouble finding suitably qualified workers and fewer students are considering related university courses

Recent findings showed that 22% of workers in the sector are aged between 50 and 60 years of age.

A further 9% of the industry is below 24 years of age.

The challenge the industry is currently facing is how to transfer all that knowledge to new entrants before the older generations leave the sector.

Furthermore, multiple surveys repeatedly show that the construction industry is not attracting enough talent to meet growing demand.

However, the Government’s flagship apprenticeship scheme, an alternative approach set up to offer more choice due to the decline in university figures, has also started to stall – with only 114,400 overall starts between August and October 2017.

Recent announcements allowing levy payments to more easily flow down through the supply chain are welcome attempts to reverse this trend.

In the BSRIA survey, 64% of firms in the sector are planning to recruit apprentices over the next three years to help plug the skills gap.

Stagnant productivity:

A recent World Economic Forum study found that the construction industry’s productivity advancements have been “meagre” compared to those in the rest of the world’s industries during the last 50 years. The study reported that the construction industry has actually lost productivity over the last 40 years.

The causes for this are as follows:

  • Inadequate project planning, with workers spending up to 63 per cent of their time waiting around.
  • Poor collaboration and communication on projects.
  • Fragmentation of the sector causing too many handoffs and rework within the project.
  • Shortage of skilled workers resulting in the slow adoption of new techniques and technologies such as BIM.

In addition, the BSRIA has found that many graduates entering into the workforce after university need to be placed on a foundation year of additional training before they are actually ready to be productive.

BSRIA has led the industry in attempts to improve this with its publication and training course on BG6 Design Framework for Building Services, and its Soft Landings process which is progressively being adopted by government and other organisations.

Mike Lee Training Manager at BSRIA said: “This is an urgent call to action for the construction sector to put vocational training at the centre of its improvement plans as we prepare to enter a new era.”

Mike Lee, Training Manager, BSRIA

For a comprehensive list on the BSRIA’s training courses.


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