The CITB Construction Skills Network forecast, produced with Experian, has indicated that the industry is set for a challenging few years ahead as we start our recovery from the covid-19 pandemic and navigate our way out of the EU. Although it has highlighted some bright spots, with both infrastructure and housing standing out.
Their 2021-2025 report looks at how our economy can recover and what this means for the construction industry as a whole. It also predicts that there will be more contribution to the economy from maintenance and improvement works, as retrofitting existing buildings to meet net zero targets becomes a focus for the government and organisations across the UK.
According to the report, most regions will see a slight increase in construction works by 2025. However the North East is the only region that is set to see a decline by -0.1%. It also highlights that the industry will need to recruit an additional 217,000 new workers just to meet demand as the industry bounces back a lot quicker than expected from the pandemic.
Even before the crisis we were seeing declines in numbers across the industry as the skills gap grew bigger. The pandemic has only made this worse but it does present us with an opportunity to reshape the skills pipeline. Making it better equipped to meet the needs of future workers. The industry needs to start attracting a new generation of workers and provide the right training to drive innovation and to meet net zero requirements.
The CITB recommends that the government seeks to help more college students into construction jobs by creating new pathways from Further Education into the industry. We’re currently sitting at 331 employees with two apprentices in the Thurston’s family. As part of our social value mission, we’ll be working with the local community to improve opportunities within the North East and boost the local economy, while providing a solution to the skills gap by hiring apprentices. We’re working with Wakefield College, which has been providing education and training in Wakefield since 1868, to support apprenticeship courses for their students. We’re also working with Kirklees College to provide CAD Technician apprenticeships in our in-house design department.
Steve Radley, Strategy and Policy Director at CITB said, “CITB has a central role in supporting construction employers across Great Britain so that they have the right skills. We need to present the industry as attractive to join, with clear pathways of entry and progression, such as through work experience and with opportunities for continued training, particularly for people of diverse backgrounds; setting standards; and addressing current training gaps and anticipating future needs in areas such as digital and decarbonisation.”
You can see the full report here.