2023 Update on Construction Skills Gap
Concerns about skill gaps in the construction industry have been raised for a number of years, most notably in areas such as carpentry, metal work and electrical. Gaps have also been identified in general in terms of digital and technology skills, so it is crucial that training in these areas and more continues to be a priority.
Nick Roberts, chief executive of Travis Perkins and sponsor for the CLC’s People and Skills Network said in July 2023 that there is an urgent need to expand the construction skills base and work force – projected demand for homes, hospitals and infrastructure puts the need for an additional 170,000 construction workers by 2027. The CLC’s Skills Plan for 2023-24 has been designed to give solutions for both the short term and longer term challenges the construction sector faces; more on this can be found here: https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/CLC-Skills-Plan-2023-24-FINAL.pdf.
Schoolchildren will be given opportunities to learn about construction careers.
A new competence approach will be launched for all construction and built environment occupations.
The entrant apprenticeship brokerage service will be expanded and new mentoring standards introduce to increase completion rates.
The Career Pathway Hub Phase 1 will launch – this is an online portal designed to define career pathways specifically for net zero, digitalisation, smart construction and repair maintenance and improvement.
This is in addition to the planned initiatives taking place this year – some of which have already gone by (such as Open Doors Week 2023 and National Apprenticeship Week) but others such as the Government “Free courses for jobs” scheme are available year round.
There are various training options for different areas identified as having skills gaps. These include:
Courses in electrical engineering
C&G accredited electrical training courses – accredited by City & Guilds, these courses include C&G 2079-11 F-Gas Category 1, C&G 2377-22 & 32 Portable Appliance Testing and C&G 2382-18 (18th Edition) Wiring Regulations (BS7671: 2018).
Electrical Testing Courses – electrical testing courses help employers meet their statutory duties under the Electricity at Work Regulations. This includes courses such as PAT testing, PAT Train the Trainer and Essential Electrics.
Electrical and Engineering courses – including EAL (a specialist industry awarding organisation) accredited courses, fibre optic cabling training and courses leading to Part P qualifications.
National CCNSG course – the National CCNSG course includes a focus on electric/isolation.
Courses in metal working
Abrasive Wheels training courses are one such example of options available to work specifically with metal – abrasive wheels are used to prepare surfaces ready for processes such as grinding, cutting and finishing.
Noise and vibration training is useful for many different construction processes but applies to working with metal. This training helps to avoid injury through excess vibration when working with equipment such as cutters or grinders.
Courses to aid working with wood.
Noise and vibration training is also relevant to working with wood when undertaking aspects such as cutting.
Face Fit training may be required for environments where there is high risk of construction dust through wood working processes. Face Fit training focuses on fitting RPE to provide adequate protection for each wearer. Different masks are available for different roles.
Risk Assessment training courses – these focus on risk assessments for various roles and processes, including working with wood.