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Government calls on construction industry to invest in homegrown talent

Words: Laura Edgar
Construction / iStock_000053640832

Government ministers have called upon the construction industry to remove barriers to get more young people to consider careers in construction.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis and skills minister Nick Boles also issued a call to develop an “ambitious” action plan to address skills pressures and other constraints that are “limiting” house building and infrastructure development.

The two ministers say they want the construction industry to look at whether current business models are holding back the industry from developing the skills it needs as well as to consider new models of construction, including offsite manufacturing.

Lewis said with the number of new homes “up 25 per cent in the last year”, “thousands of jobs are up for grabs”.

“Construction offers an exciting and rewarding career and we need to build a new generation of homegrown talented, ambitious and highly skilled construction workers,” said Lewis.

The governmentsaid the Construction Leadership Council, created by the government in 2013 to work between it and the industry to “identify and deliver actions supporting” UK construction, would review what skills the construction industry needs to deliver more housing.

Boles said: “As a leader in the industry, the council is best placed to advise on how to boost productivity in the sector and build the houses and infrastructure our nation needs.”

Mark Farmer, chief executive at real estate and construction consultancy Cast, has been asked by the council to identify actions that will help bring more workers to the industry. He will lead a review that aims to encourage new ways of working and identify ways to encourage more investment.

Farmer said: “The construction industry’s skills shortfall has been growing progressively and its ageing workforce now means affirmative action needs to be taken to avoid more acute issues in the future.

“The industry needs to seize the opportunity to celebrate the vital contribution it makes and, in partnership with government and other key stakeholders, ensure it overcomes the current barriers to fulfilling its potential.”

The council’s consultation closes on 29 February 2016.

Last week, the National House Building Council released figures that suggested the number of homes registered to be built in the UK in 2015 topped 156,000 while the Construction Industry Training Board forecast sustained growth from 2016 to 2020, driven by infrastructure and private housing. According to its report, Construction Skills Network, 44,000 jobs could be created every year for the next five years.

Image credit | iStock