Jan18.Supply Chain Forum

Filling today’s widening gap in construction skills requires action on a series of fronts, according to new research by NM Group.

During breakout sessions at our recent 2017 Supply Chain Forum, more than 150 suppliers and sub-contractors shared their views and were polled on how the industry can attract and retain new talent.

More apprenticeships were a popular choice (70%) and 41% suggested increased government support would help. But with apprenticeship take-up dropping 59% year-on-year since April, over two-thirds of delegates agreed that the industry needs to make itself more attractive to new entrants.

Learning from the manufacturing industry and taking a more proactive role in academic programmes was the solution chosen by almost three-quarters of delegates. Specific suggestions included “going into primary schools and targeting from an early age” and “integrating with local schools at curriculum level”. Promoting more diversity in the workforce could also attract and retain more employees (38%), but only a fifth considered higher wages a core incentive.

To encourage skilled people to remain in construction rather than leaving for other sectors, two-thirds (65%) thought the industry needs more career progression opportunities and almost half suggested more training for existing workers.

Delegates were split 50/50 on whether Brexit will worsen the skills shortage, but there was a clear consensus (79%) that developments in technology will bring significant workforce challenges over the next five years. A majority agreed that delivering specialist training in new technology would help attract and retain workers.

The results inspired our CEO John Homer to pen an article for Construction News. “We need to bolster knowledge to fully embrace the next phase of BIM,” he said. “We also need to develop the expertise to enable us to continue to pioneer more off-site build facilities, an important future trend.”

John concluded: “There’s an urgent need to take a fresh look at our training programmes and how we can build on these to future-proof the industry, upskill our existing workforce and attract new talent.”

You can read more about this and our commitment to developing industry talent in the full article here: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/analysis/expert-opinion/face-it-construction-is-at-a-skills-standstill/10025904.article

Date: 23 January 2018