A recent report by think tank Real Economy highlighted that, although construction is a top priority growth area for the UK, there’s a lack of skills required to help the sector prosper.
While the report specifically looked at the North-west, a growing skills gap seems evident across the entire UK construction sector, and unless we can eliminate this gap we won’t be able to elevate the construction industry beyond its existing position.
According to the report, many employers believe the solution is to demand higher qualifications. But is this always the best answer?
Creating a skilled workforce
In some trades a specialist Level 3 NVQ qualification isn’t available. In such cases, and depending on what additional skills are actually required, the trainee may be able to progress further if enhanced Level 2 modules were offered, giving greater flexibility in how the reported shortage can be tackled.
“It is important we act now to ensure the sector takes control of the skills shortage”
To ensure in-demand skills are being fostered and a skilled workforce developed in order to drive growth, the level of collaboration between the construction industry, training providers and funders must be increased.
Putting in place a comprehensive network of training providers and employers will allow them to work together to create courses that meet the needs of the industry and determine how the training for the additional skills required is best delivered.
At Procure Plus, we are supporting the Employer Ownership of Skills initiative set up by the UK Commission for Innovation in partnership with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
This initiative aims to increase the number of employment and training opportunities available, as well as arranging direct funding for training, and we are facilitating the conversations between those willing to participate.
Without training that is tailored to the changing needs of the industry, we risk the skills gap widening further as trainees complete qualifications that fail to give them the rounded abilities demanded by employers.
It is important we act now to ensure the sector takes control of the skills shortage and continues to grow to realise its full potential.
Fiona Sharp is head of regneration at Procure Plus