How can the construction industry combat the skills shortage?

  • 27 Sep 2016

Ian Anfield, Managing Director for leading construction audit and contract provider, Hudson Contract, comments on combating the skills shortage affecting the construction industry.

The construction industry is facing a crisis. One of the legacies of the 2008 recession is that the industry is suffering from a growing skills shortage which, unless drastic action is undertaken, is only set to get worse.

So what is being done about it? 

In 2015, the Government announced the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which has been designed to fund three million extra apprentices across all industries by 2020.  Potentially, the Levy will help produce construction’s urgently-needed next generation through the increase of skilled apprentices.

Despite the new scheme being set to be rolled out in April 2017, further details have been slow in being published, with Brexit given as one of the reasons. This has left the Levy in a state of uncertainty, particularly for firms that are exempt from this scheme and unsure how they can claim support – something that affects many small and medium-sized construction firms.

In addition, with the upcoming changes to the Construction Industry Training Board Levy, construction firms have even less of an idea on how to properly budget for training and apprentices.   This could therefore all lead to a situation where many firms decide to put their apprenticeship plans on hold for another year, further increasing the skills shortage with no new skilled workers moving up the ranks.

How can we as an industry do more to prevent this? 

We at Hudson Contract created an Apprentice Sponsorship Scheme in 2011, following the discovery that construction employers were often reluctant to take on apprentices due to financial pressures and concerns regarding workloads.  Other concerns we have noticed as key deterrents for firms taking on an apprentice include; finding apprentices with the right attitude; with a strong work ethic and who understand and respect site safety rules.

Added to this, the issue of funding doesn’t go away and you can start to see that there are many perceived barriers in place which prevent many firms from investing in apprentices that can fulfil the skills shortage and safeguard the future of the industry.

Looking at the national situation, the construction industry needs to get more young people interested in a career in construction as a viable and attractive option for progression.

Everyone needs to play their part –employers, students, the government, colleges and tutors – to ensure it’s a system that works in helping youngsters take their first step on the ladder. Only through this collaborative approach is the industry going to be able to address the skills shortage.

One comment on “How can the construction industry combat the skills shortage?

  • Attempt at recruitment or deal with the real issue being the total stagnation of tradesmans wages over the last decade, resulting in the qualfied and experienced workforce leaving the building sector in their droves. Try paying your honest, hardworking and reliable workmen a realistic and fair wage instead…. Just a thought! Construction jobs are simply no longer attractive.

Leave a Reply

Latest news

Mitsubshi Electric

Family Day Workshop by Mitsubishi Electric

If you are an architecture or environmental enthusiast, bring your children along to a family day of fun and educational activities at the Building Centre on Saturday 22nd June – Mitsubishi Electric will deliver its award-winning programme, The Learning Curve (with a few twists), designed to teach children about energy use and energy efficiency.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry Events, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Services, Facility Management & Building Services, Heating Systems, Controls and Management, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - HVAC, Pipes & Fittings, Plumbing, Retrofit & Renovation, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency


Keller Kitchens excels in Kiwa assessment

Keller Kitchens has been reassessed by Kiwa, a European institute that is involved in the certification of processes, products, employees and organisations. Once again, the company passed with flying colours!

Posted in Articles, Building Associations & Institutes, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Regulations & Accreditations, Building Services, Interior Design & Construction, Interiors, Kitchens, Research & Materials Testing, Restoration & Refurbishment, Retrofit & Renovation, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

National Ventilation

National Ventilation’s Operations Director Completes D-Day 44 Challenge

Alan Parkinson, Operations Director at National Ventilation, has completed the D-Day 44 Challenge in aid of Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

Posted in Air Conditioning, Articles, Building Industry Events, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Services, Charity work, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - HVAC