The new trade body Build UK, that seeks to provide a single voice for the whole of the contracting supply chain, have announced their plan of action to transform the construction sector. This is to focus on: Image of construction; The industry’s skills needs; Effective pre-qualification; Health and safety performance; Fair payment practices.

An economic analysis of the UK construction sector has been published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.  The report summarises ‘there is a continuing need to ensure investment in innovation and technology, alongside increased collaboration between businesses and research institutions to enable the UK to realise this potential. There is also scope for further progress, particularly with regard to addressing evident skills shortages, the limited awareness of financing options and existing government support programmes, relatively low levels of exports in construction products and materials, and in improving efficiencies in the supply chain’.

The BIS analysis states ‘a skilled and flexible workforce will be vital to the UK construction sector’s future performance and competitiveness’. New research from the Federation of Master Builders shows a shortage of bricklayers, carpenters and site managers threatens the construction sector’s recovery, with two thirds of UK building companies turning down work due to lack of skilled resource. So it is no surprise that the FMB welcome the apprenticeship levy.  

It is also welcome news that the CITB report, following the release of UCAS application statistics, that the numbers studying building degree courses has increased by 8% compared with the same time last year. In response to a consultation with over 800 construction employers of all sizes, as well as industry federations, the CITB have simplified the application process for training funding.

To bolster recruitment the Builders Merchants Federation have launched a careers website. This site aims to help young people understand how to get into the sector and what career options suit them best. The website also has a live jobs section. This month also sees the British Chambers of Commerce launch the ‘Your Future’ programme of career events, which will see 250 careers events take place by March 2016.

Finally, CIOB report that The East Midlands Property Alliance has commissioned an online software system that gives transparency on project performance. The Firefly system allows tracking of around 15 different performance indicators, including programme, local spend and training opportunities.

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