The current skills shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry today, as the sector continues to struggle in meeting the demand for skilled professionals.
Getting into the construction trade has been ideal for a stable and rewarding career. The current demand for new young workers has never been higher.
According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), almost 25,000 people started a construction apprenticeship in 2015/16 across England, Scotland and Wales. Research has also shown that over 179,000 new workers are needed in the next five years.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has highlighted the extent of the construction skills crisis and often called on the Government to address it in a way that benefits every region in the country. We believe that in order to tackle the skills shortage, apprenticeships need to be better targeted, and SMEs should be given more purchasing power so that they are able to develop their own training provisions.
Many members of the NFB have called for more support in sourcing apprentices for work. NFB members based in the Midlands have expressed their need to recruit apprentices and have sought out relationships with local colleges and schools to help bridge the gap.
The NFB’s Leicestershire & Rutland Association has delivered bursaries to five colleges within The Midlands region, totaling £60,000 over a three-year period. Stephenson College is one of the educational providers that the NFB is working with, to help support students who want to develop a career within construction. In the recent NFB bursary report, the college has pledged to spend £5,000 helping students to access the construction industry in the first year of the programme.
Nine students have completed the Health, Safety and Environment test, and have also received CSCS cards, which will enable them to gain access to construction sites, and apply for construction related work. A further 15 students who have completed, or who are completing, work trials with employers, have received travel cost grants ensuring they can complete the work trials. Students who have completed successfully will receive vouchers allowing them to purchase their own tools and equipment.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB said:
“There are many skilled trades which require a high-level of technical ability, and apprenticeships enable young people to learn on the job, gaining hands-on experience whilst getting paid at the same time. Education is a force for positive change and we must invest in our future workforce in order to tackle the current skills shortage.”
For more information about gaining an apprenticeship in construction, contact the NFB’s Midlands Area Manager, Julie Walters: Julie.walters(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)builders.org.uk.