The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) recently announced at its industry leaders’ briefing a vision for the industry. Stating that the industry cannot deliver the homes and infrastructure needed in the UK by continuing to do things the way it always has. This echoes the message from the Farmer Report which challenges the construction sector to do things differently. The need to reduce the reliance on building in the same way that we have done for decades was also debated at the recent CIMCIG Chairman’s debate.
The six CLC work stream leaders held a panel discussion, setting out their vision for the future of each area – supply chain and business models, exports and trade, innovation in buildings, smart technology, sustainability and skills.
Construction Skills at the Heart of Industry Transformation
A common element that arises in the drive for transforming the construction sector is recruiting skilled workers.
The CITB over the last three years has seen significant change, with a raft of reforms. Recent news reports the resignation of Adrian Belton as Chief Executive of CITB. With the announcement that “CITB is now moving onto the next phase of its reform, which is engaging with industry on how it will support, delivering the required change and consulting on a new Levy Order. This includes reforming the Grants Scheme to ensure that Levy funds are invested in the skills most needed by our industry.” This will commence in the new year with CITB to overhaul levy consensus process, with the number of construction employers that are surveyed to treble from 2017.
The drive for construction skills will be helped by a new Construction Technology Centre at Leicester College. This is designed to provide a state-of-the-art workspace where students can develop their construction skills. Go Construct recently celebrated its first birthday, and over the year they have worked hard to dispel the myths around working in construction. Their recent blog, four ways to find a career in construction reminds us, in point one, that it is important to find out what construction is REALLY like. Laing O’Rourke has urged government to launch GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC) disciplines. This is just one recommendation in their ‘ten-point plan to overcome the UK’s Construction and Infrastructure skills gap’.
This is imperative when we exit the EU as recent analysis from Arcadis suggests that Brexit could lead to a reduction of 215,000 people working in UK construction. This equates to a 14% reduction in the workforce, increasing the current skills gap significantly.