Small construction firms are turning work down

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New research has revealed resource issues are forcing small construction firms to turn down work…

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said 66 per cent of small construction firms have turned down new business due to a lack of resources.

The figures showed almost half had outsourced work to third parties, rather than leaving a job unfinished.

The FMB questioned 8,500 small and medium-sized firms within its membership. It found the largest shortage of bricklayers and carpenters was in the capital, while the East of England suffered a shortage of plasterers.

The research also revealed general labourers are in short supply in Northern Ireland, while the West Midlands needs more scaffolders.

The construction sector has suffered a shortage of skilled workers dating back to the recession, when many jobs were lost. As the industry recovered the number of skilled workers entering the sector has failed to keep pace with the demand for services.

Additionally, increased pressure from parents encouraging their children to stay on in education, rather than seeking apprenticeships that are typically used as a route into the construction sector, has also had a significant impact on the workforce.

To keep up with demand, experts from the FMB estimated the industry needed at least 35,000 new apprentices. However, only 7,000 apprentices completed training in 2013, leaving a huge shortfall.

FMB Director of Training and Membership Services Hayley Ellis said: “We’re aware that there is a desperate need for new apprentices to join the construction industry.

“Apprenticeship schemes offer a balance of technical skills and workplace experience, so school leavers can learn on the job and hone their skills – and build a really meaningful career.”

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