Construction firms are being urged help homeless people into work

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Some of London’s most vulnerable homeless people could find jobs in the building sector, boosting the number of skilled workers

The UK construction sector is in the midst of a skills shortage. Experts predict that around 190,000 new workers will be needed by the end of 2018. However, there are simply not enough workers to fill these posts. This shortage is expected to be exacerbated further by Brexit. Research from RICS warned almost 200,000 EU workers could be lost if the UK loses access to the single market and British labourers will be unable to fill these positions.

Filling these roles will be challenging and will ultimately prove problematic for the sector. However, RICS has urged construction firms to get around the issue by helping young people who have experienced homelessness into construction jobs.

This could be achieved via training-based programmes and specialist back-to-work schemes for individuals struggling to gain employment.

Supporting vulnerable people into work

Lynn Robinson, RICS Regional Director said: “It’s important that employers in the construction sector tap into hidden talent pools, and instil or adapt various working practices to give vulnerable young people the best chances of gaining and staying in employment.

“These include offering work on permanent or temporary-to-permanent contracts; developing effective training programmes with a buddy or mentor; having appropriate HR policies and procedures in place – including weekly pay options – and working with specialist ‘back-to-work’ schemes.”

She added: “We appreciate that a lack of a stable and settled home makes it extremely difficult to find and maintain employment. With this in mind, we have launched an anti-homeless campaign known as ‘A Home for Cathy’ which will see us calling on the wider property sectors – as well as the government and advocates for change – to pledge their support for our campaign which aims to provide solutions and commit to actions to deliver more affordable homes.

“Despite the barriers they may face, most young people who have experienced homelessness or housing issues want to work – it can bring a sense of purpose, increased confidence and can be a route into a new and better life. We believe that with the right support, many more can achieve just that.”

This is not the first time the industry has helped vulnerable people into jobs. The ‘Ready for Work’ programme proved a success after being adopted by more than 150 businesses. It supports people who are at risk of becoming homeless, offering routes into employment via training and work placements.

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