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CONSTRUCTION: UNLOADING THE IMAGE OF HARD HATS AND MUDDY BOOTS

The UK building sector has experienced record growth over the past two years however there is a risk the industry may struggle to attract enough talent to provide the necessary workforce for future projects. Shortages due to the pandemic triggering an exodus of experienced construction workers, a record number of workers reaching retirement age, and too few people entering the industry to replace them could all impact on growth.

In my own business, working on premium residential projects for more than 15 years, I have first-hand experience of the shortage of skilled construction workers, such as joiners, electricians, and other skilled trades. We need to break down preconceptions and get away from the image of hard hats, and muddy boots and do more to sell construction as a career option with employers and the government working together to attract more young people.

Construction is reported to need more than 200,000 new workers by 2025 to meet demand, so change needs to happen fast. I believe the key is training, on-boarding, and recruiting people young people with talent and an energetic outlook. New technologies and trends are constantly emerging, with a variety of innovations in designing, materials, manufacturing, testing, and extending modern construction techniques that will provide multi-disciplinary and diverse careers for future employees.

A recent survey by business campaigning group London First, revealed the government’s apprenticeship levy revealed funds are still going unspent with almost half of firms subject to the levy returning unspent apprenticeship funding to the Treasury. Despite all the positives there is still both a gaping capacity and a skills challenge, and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the opportunities in the sector.

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