Survey reveals industry view on skills shortage

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A new survey carried out by the BRE Academy has revealed an insight into what the industry thinks of the shortage of skilled workers…

BRE Academy has launched a new report based on findings from a survey of 300 industry professionals.

The BRE Academy Skills Survey, carried out with support from CITB IEMA and CIAT, was published today at Ecobuild. It revealed an acute skills shortage in a number of fields, including trades such as plastering, electrical, and plumbing, as well as sustainability and environmental.

The report also highlighted concerns surrounding BIM and management skills, suggesting both areas are seen as lacking by the wider industry, as well as on an individual company or organisation basis.

As well as warning more needed to be done to tackle a lack of key skills, the survey also found a lack of gender diversity from the ‘boardroom to building site’. A total of 61 per cent said there should be a greater promotion of diversity.

One of the other issues highlighted in the report was the sustained image problem of the construction sector. Some 91 per cent of respondents said people outside the industry viewed it differently to those within.

Furthermore, 74 per cent of respondents thought the career pathways for young people should be ‘actively promoted’, while 64 per cent said there should be greater focus on promoting construction’s hi-tech and digital opportunities. Academically-minded students should also be targeted alongside those aiming for vocational qualifications, with the government working more closely with the education sector to promote apprenticeships and support SMEs to offer training.

BRE Academy Director Pauline Traetto said: ‘Construction currently contributes £92 billion a year to the UK economy with a workforce of 3 million people.

“In order to support future growth in the UK as well as rapid expansion in developing countries a talented, engaged workforce is critical.

“Only by grappling with the skills shortage highlighted in this report in areas like sustainability and digital design will the industry be able to deliver a low carbon, high performance future.’

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the survey was vital to help the government design effective policies.

She added: “We remain committed to creating three million more apprenticeships in this Parliament many of which will be in the construction sector and we are particularly keen to increase the sector’s diversity and help encourage more women to participate.”

The Offsite Construction Survey

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