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Victoria Fritz reports for BBC Breakfast
admin 0 Comments Industry News Straight Talking Aug 23, 2016
Shortage of workers in the construction industry

230,000 new workers are required over the next 5 years – 46,000 a year for each of the next 5 years.

The industry is still busy and needs good skills both at a practical level on site and in management.

Key for us in Brexit discussions is the ability to continue to employ workers from around the world including the EU but a wake up call to the industry to invest in our home grown skills

Construction offers great lifetime career opportunities for:

  • School leavers
  • University graduates
  • Those looking for a new challenge
  • Ex-military
  • Ex-offenders

We need to be better at advising schools, parents and people of these opportunities and the industry is already beginning to tackle this – careers advice in school very different these days and we the industry need to take more responsibility but we need help from schools, colleges and universities to give us time to talk to pupils and show them the options they have

We also need to make sure that our training system is fit for the 21st century – I don’t think it is – it needs to be much simpler and clearer than it is.  Also we need to ensure we are training people in the skills employers of today need and there is work to do there.

We need to emphasise the value of technical skills – university is not right for everyone and we need to demonstrate the value and pride in apprenticeships at all levels which can offer a much better route into employment for many people

The Government needs to stop making changes and over complicating things – even the professionals in training no longer understand the money available for training and how the system works.  There is proposal called the Skills Plan to address this but we need to do things differently not just keep talking about it.

We also have the Apprenticeship Levy coming in – the system isn’t ready and it will be a disaster if it comes in and doesn’t work – and I would urge the Government to seriously consider the calls from employers for a delay in bringing it in.  When reputable organisations such as the CBI and Build UK are saying we need more information and we don’t understand it then we should listen.

The Education system needs to get our young people ready for the world of work.  We need kids to a good basic standard in maths and english and with a desire to work, earn money and succeed.

I want to employ & train the next generation of workers and I recognise that this requires investment both in terms of money, time and effort.  But if it is too complicated or I am paying money into a system that doesn’t work for me then it is difficult for even the most committed of employers to do the right thing.