The construction skills gap continues to intensify. Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB says, in response to their latest State of Trade Survey 2017 ‘of the 15 key trades and occupations we monitor, 40% show skills shortages at their highest point since we started to feel the effects of the skills crisis in 2013.’

The latest Jobs Outlook by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows, With 45% of employers expecting to face a shortage of suitable candidates over the next year, businesses may turn to temporary workers to meet demand as permanent hiring becomes more difficult.

Government has issued its response to Mark Farmer’s independent review Modernise or Die, setting out a response to each of the 10 recommendations. In relation to the skills crisis the report recommends that ‘The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) should be comprehensively reviewed and a reform programme instituted.’ Governments response states: ‘Having reviewed the options for making sure that the construction industry has the skills it needs, we have concluded that the CITB should be retained… We will publish the final report of our review in the autumn, in which we will set out more details of the arrangements we will put in place to make sure that the CITB is clearly accountable to the industry it serves, and the specific expectations we have of it.’

Going on to say in response to recommendation 5 ‘The industry needs to support the development of standards and invest in providing apprenticeships, placements and training opportunities for people looking to develop the skills to work in the modernised, digitally-enabled industry of the future.’ And in response to the industry image ‘Government agrees that it is important that the construction industry presents a positive image to encourage new entrants into the sector, which in part needs to reflect a more attractive and modern employment offer to prospective recruits.’

Whilst the industry strives to deliver a better image for construction and deliver training and opportunity, encouraging people to pursue a career in construction, we also face the challenge of Brexit.

An all Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has published a report Building on Brexit. This report presents a 12 point plan to deal with the impact of Brexit. In essence it recommends that Government works to stabilise the existing workforce by ensuring existing EU migrant workers are able to remain in the UK, putting in place transitional arrangements for a period of time so that access to foreign workers does not fall off a cliff edge. Meanwhile it calls for industry to work on attracting, training and retaining a greater domestic workforce. Whilst also futureproofing the industry through harnessing digital technologies and offsite construction.

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