Lack of skills in construction could cripple the industry

The government has asked the construction industry to probe and remove potential barriers preventing young people from taking up careers in construction

The 2008 housing crash hit the housing industry hard and led to the loss of 250,000 jobs within the construction sector.

In their efforts to fill the skills gap, the Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and the Skills Minister Nick Boles have tasked the industry with investigating if existing business models are preventing the industry from developing the skills it badly needs and also looking into increasing alternative methods of construction, such as offsite manufacturing.

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A recent report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed construction wages rose by six per cent in 2015 primarily due to the skills shortage.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, commented: “Industry wages are becoming increasingly attractive, and I would hope that over time this will encourage skilled workers to return to the sector, as well as drawing school leavers and graduates towards construction industry careers.”

High salaries will go some way to improve recruitment but interaction with young people is going to be important. Many argue that the under-representation of women in the sector should be rectified to encourage more young women to the industry.

However the image of chauvinistic construction workers combined with the ingrained stereotypical roles for women are to make changing these attitudes difficult and therefore reduce the pool of talent the industry can potentially call upon.

Debbie Carter

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