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Time to demystify digitalisation with upgraded skills

Steve Radley

The big challenges ahead – skills shortages, boosting productivity, adapting to Brexit – are driving a demand for change.

More and more employers, large and small, are investing in new ways of working, from offsite to BIM. The industry knows that we need to change the way we do things.

However, in such a broad and fragmented sector, the change we need to modernise and drive up productivity is a real challenge. Skills are crucial to driving successful uptake and adoption of new methods – and action is needed now.

Accelerate modernisation

The CITB’s aim is to deliver on the industry’s evolving needs, which is why we’ve launched a new campaign: Changing Construction – Changing Skills.

The campaign is designed to help equip industry – through CITB research, funding and influencing – with the skills it needs to modernise. We’ve already committed funds for training in areas such as offsite construction and immersive technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Our campaign will gather more pace during next week’s Digital Construction Week when our new report, Unlocking construction’s digital future: A skills plan for industry, will be showcased.

Leaders must drive change

Our research shows that digital technology has the potential to increase productivity, transform efficiency and help attract a new generation of talent to the sector. It’s not just about the new tech, but about fundamental changes to ways of thinking and working. Change has to come from the top and leaders need to drive it.

At the CITB we have the opportunity to do something tangible – by creating common goals for everyone to get behind, and then incentivising the training required.

Our report highlights a need for interventions from the boardroom right across the supply chain, from small firms to the largest contractors. It shows how the CITB will work with the Construction Leadership Council, the government, the industry and training providers to demystify digital skills.

There is no question that the industry needs to upskill and recruit new talent to make the most of the huge opportunities digital technologies offer UK construction.

It’s not too late – but it won’t happen on its own. We will be supporting companies to adapt to the challenges ahead.

Digitalisation is at the heart of industry modernisation and the CITB will be at the heart of that change.

Steve Radley is policy director at CITB

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