Addressing the skill shortage in construction
We have written previously about skill shortages in the construction sector – this is not a new problem and despite various initiatives in the past from bodies such as Build UK, CITB and CECA, shortages in vital trades such as skilled labour continue to be a problem - carbon, sustainability, digital and related roles being the most problematic.
That being said, initiatives such as Open Doors Week have proven their worth over the past few years in terms of attracting new blood into the sector – not only from young individuals, but also from experienced workers who may be undertaking a career move or retraining. With this in mind, current and upcoming initiatives are key to continuing to invigorate and refresh the world of construction.
Open Doors Week 2023
Open Doors Week 2023 is set to take place 13-18 March. This event allows people who think they would like a career in construction to see different projects, offices, or factories, and meet people who currently work in these industries and areas.
There are a range of locations across the UK hosting Open Doors Week – these can be found using the interactive map on the Open Doors Week website. https://opendoors.construction/#search
This event is free to attend but you do need to sign up to each event.
National Apprenticeship Week
This week is dedicated to the apprenticeship community and this year is being held from the 6th – 12th of February. The theme is 'Skills for Life', focusing on individuals developing skills and talents they will be able to use on a lifelong basis.
Whilst this event is not exclusive to construction, the motivation behind this focus – learning and using skills for life – is certainly one that is important to the construction sector.
More info here: https://naw.appawards.co.uk/
Government “Free courses for jobs” scheme
This Government scheme from the Department of Education uses the National Skills fund to allow adults to take free courses to obtain a level 3 qualification in various industries. These include building and construction courses.
Delegates must meet govt criteria:
- Be aged 19 or over and don’t already have a level 3 qualification.
- They can already have a level 3 qualification or higher but earn below the National Living Wage annually (£18,525 from April 2022).
- They can already hold a level 3 qualification or higher but be unemployed.
Women in Construction schemes
There are various initiatives to encourage more women to enter the construction sector. These include taster workshops, training courses and open door sessions into specific construction sectors including carpentry, plumbing, tiling, painting and decorating.
Offsite Ready Project
The ‘Offsite Ready Project’, headed by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and funded by the CITB, is a training programme designed to train best practice and skills in offsite construction – this includes topics such as project management, design functions, procurement, and cost management.
The Offsite Ready Project is open to both skilled and unskilled individuals, as well as those interested in reskilling.
These are just some of the initiatives open; there are many more and often smaller schemes run by local councils in conjunction with local colleges too. It pays to look and see what’s available.