As major projects such as HS2 begin ramping up, infrastructure will be a major source of demand in the next few years, as well as the requirement to retrofit existing buildings to meet net-zero emissions targets, according to a new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The Construction Index reports that the latest CITB Construction Skills Network (CSN) report forecasts that UK construction output and employment will return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 2022.
The report suggests that with the industry returning to growth, it needs to start looking at recruiting, with an extra 216,800 construction workers needed by 2025 to meet the UK’s construction demands.
According to the CSN report, dealt all English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025. Leading the demand is the East Midlands, with a 1.7 per cent increase per year, and the West Midlands with 1.4 per cent.
Scotland also fares well with 1.4 per cent, and also Wales with 0.7 per cent, but the only region that is predicted to see a decline is the Northeast with -0.1 per cent.
The most in-demand will be wood trade workers and interior fit-out workers, and it is forecast that there will be a need for 5,500 new ones every year to meet the forecast needs by 2025. There will also be a need for 3,600 construction managers, 3,400 electrical installation professionals, according to the analysis.
The main drivers of growth over the next four years will be infrastructure and housing, but in contrast, the forecast warns that the commercial sector faces some significant short-term risks, and tighter government finances may impede the public sector’s ability to move ahead with new work.
CITB policy director Steve Radley said the industry had to adopt new ways to recruit the staff members that are needed. He said it is great to see the strong growth in the construction sector, and the job opportunities that provides, but there is a need to adopt new approaches to meet the skills needed and deliver them quickly.
“We are working closely with government and FE (further education) to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood,” he said.
He added that it is essential the sector invests in the skills that will drive change and meet the new and growing needs, such as building safety and net-zero emissions work.
“We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills and skills related to energy efficiency.”
Later in the year, the industry will vote on whether the CITB should retain the power to collect the apprenticeship levy to fun raining, and the CITB confirmed in May that it will not be increasing its levy rates in the next three years.
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