“It is no secret that a worsening labour shortage will have a major impact on our industry if we don’t address the slide.
There is no exact average age of a construction worker, but it is estimated that almost half are approaching 50 years of age.
That number will be rising in the absence of new blood coming into the industry and it won’t be long before many of them are at retirement age.
The lifeblood of any industry can only be sustained by replenishing it with young people who can push boundaries and produce fresh ideas to help it grow. And the construction industry is no different.
We now have a chance to strike; the next generation of young people, Generation Z and born between 1997-2012, represent the biggest generation yet, with around 1.3billion of them expected to join the global workforce over the next 10 years.
It is imperative that we attract as many of this generation into the industry as we can to safeguard its future – and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) provide the perfect opportunity to bridge that gap.
One of the main problems is that young people see construction through a very narrow window – many see unpleasant, poor, working conditions, outdoors in the mud on a building site, getting cold and wet in the winter, and choose an air-conditioned office instead.
MMC mean that hours on site are drastically reduced, while offsite and modular construction can mean even less time on site, with structures built in controlled, safe, settings rather than outdoors.
Young people also see the industry as low paid and for people who don’t go to college, but construction is a multi-billion pound, highly-skilled and highly-paid industry that offers opportunities for personal development with diverse careers in everything from IT and design to sales and marketing.
Attracted by industries that appear more progressive, dynamic, and exciting, innovation and cutting-edge technology play a vital role in the modern construction industry.
MMC should be the perfect fit for young people of Generation Z with skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths vital in their design and build.
Many MMC use state-of-the-art technology, and the introduction of sophisticated technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, imaging drones, and 3D printing should make for an extremely exciting future for the more IT-literate, tech-savvy generation coming through.
Young people are concerned about climate change and the future of the environment, and they can play a huge part in being part of the solution through construction.
The Government is committed to sustainability and building greener if the county wants to hit its carbon net zero targets, and MMC will be key to doing that through technology, design, and sustainable practices.
Being part of a sustainable future should resonate with young people as they plan their futures, and a career in construction using MMC can provide that.
With the government committed to Building Back Better by spending on infrastructure and picking up the shortfall of new homes that need building, MMC is the future of construction and can provide what the young people of today and tomorrow are looking for in a career.
It is the best chance we have of enticing young people into our industry – and we must take advantage before it’s too late.”
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