Growing Opportunities and a Rising Demand for Construction Workers
Dec 11, 2017
We can expect to see an increase in employment in the construction industry, with 179,000 construction sector jobs predicted to be created over the next 5 years, and by 2021, output will grow by 1.7% a year. This means opportunity for more work as the industry grows which is great news for construction workers.
With the recent announcement of plans to double annual house builds in London, there is going to be an immediate demand for more construction professionals.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond recently pledged £34bn towards training in the construction industry, building skills in areas including brick laying and plastering. The Government’s plan to build 300,000 new homes requires more industry professionals. This significant investment in training demonstrates the Government’s immediate plans for more housing, investing in the quality and future of the UK’s construction industry.
From the £34bn, £20m will go towards the introduction of T-levels, training students in practical skills.
What are T-levels and why are they significant?
The “biggest ever overhaul of technical education to deliver a skills revolution for Brexit Britain.”
T-levels are a new technical qualification that are designed to make the job market more easily accessible to students, giving young people skills that are going to be essential in a post-Brexit Britain. This new qualification is expected to be phased in between 2018-2022, and the first three qualifications to be announced are construction, digital and education and childcare.
“We are transforming technical education in this country, developing our home-grown talent so that our young people have the world class skills and knowledge that employers need.”
“As we prepare to leave the EU, it is more important than ever that we create an outstanding further education and skills system, giving all young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and deliver a better future for our country.” – Education Secretary Justine Greening
The main challenge meeting young people trying to enter the job market is that they don’t have the practical skills and experience to secure a position, unless they have completed an apprenticeship. It’s a chicken and egg situation really; it’s impossible to get a job without the experience but it’s impossible to get the experience without a job… this is where T-levels come in! As well as practical education and training, students will go on a placement to gain work experience and apply their new skills in a genuine working environment.
“The introduction of these technical programmes will provide young people with skill sets that are valuable and relevant to employers, helping to create skilled employment opportunities for school leavers.”
“In particular, the support being put in place for work placements will be crucial in ensuring that students are able to gain experience of a work environment, helping them move from education to employment in a more seamless manner.” – Simon Blagden, non-executive Chairman at Fujitsu
You can find out more about T-levels and the plans for developing ‘home-grown talent’ here.
Building a smarter future
Not only do we need to develop great practical skills, we also need to nurture great problem solvers and strategists. With the British population ever expanding, we need to be both skilled and smart about how we accommodate for these bodies, whilst ensuring a green future. Phillip Hammond’s plans for five new garden towns were announced in the 2017 autumn budget.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘garden towns’, they are “holistically planned new settlement which enhances the natural environment, tackles climate change and provides high quality housing locally and accessible jobs in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities” (Source: BuyAssociation), as defined by the Town and County Planning Association (TCPA).
You can find out more about the plans for new garden towns and villages and the locations that have been approved here.
Experienced workers are in high demand
With man power and a skills shortage being the main obstacle in the new housing plans, experienced construction workers are going to be in high demand. ‘The UK Commission for Employment and Skills believes a further 700,000 workers are needed to replace the retiring population.’ (Source: BuyAssociation).
Whilst T-levels and other plans are being put in place to attract a larger percentage of the younger generation to the industry, there are also efforts being made to retain experienced adults, with £76m pledged ‘towards retraining adults to work in the digital and construction sectors’ (Source: BuyAssociation).
Not only will experienced industry professionals play an essential role in the exciting new development plans for the UK, they are also the best source for training new recruits and the next generation of bricklayers, scaffolders, surveyors, roofers etc. To ensure the next generation have the skillset to deliver the best results, they need to be trained by the best.
Good news all round
There’s no denying that following the vote for Brexit, there has been an air of uncertainty and apprehension, with all industries questioning what the next few years hold. But with all of the recent announcements of Government plans, the future is looking bright for the construction industry.
One of the main challenges currently facing the construction industry is a shortage of skilled professionals. This ‘challenge’, along with the plans for large scale construction projects backed by the Government, comes as welcome news with plenty of work on the horizon.
‘The industry also expects profit margins, workloads and employment to rise over the next year, though at a slower pace than in the years from 2013 to 2015.’ (Source: The Telegraph)
It’s encouraging to see our Government investing in the future of our industry and country; if we build a stronger workforce and skillset, we build a stronger and more stable future for Great Britain.