Ministers call on construction industry to invest in the next generation of builders

Ministers have called on construction chiefs to be “ambitious” in developing a plan to alleviate the pressure on skills and encourage more young people to consider a career in the industry.

The industry needs to remove barriers to investing in its future, by nurturing home grow talent, and remove other constraints that are limiting housebuilding and infrastructure development, the Government said.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and Skills Minister Nick Boles want the construction industry to look at whether current business models are holding back the industry from developing the skills it needs – and to consider new models of construction such as offsite manufacturing.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has been called upon to review what skills the construction industry needs to provide more homes.

“The number of new homes is up 25% in the last year – and this is further proof we’ve got the country building again and delivering the homes the nation wants,” said Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis. “This means thousands of jobs are now up for grabs and we’re determined to make sure that there are enough skilled workers to get the job done.

“Construction offers an exciting and rewarding career and we need to build a new generation of home grown talented, ambitious and highly skilled construction workers.”

Nick Boles, Skills Minister, added: “The Government is committed to getting Britain building. We are investing in measures to cut red tape and increase the number of young people doing apprenticeships and traineeships to ensure we have a pipeline of skilled workers. As leaders in the industry, the Council is best placed to advise on how to boost productivity in the sector and build the houses and infrastructure our nation needs.”

The CLC has asked Mark Farmer, of real estate and construction consultancy Cast, to identify actions that will help bring more workers to the industry.

Views are being sought on how to best train a workforce that has a high level of self-employment and bring about greater use of off-site construction. The review will also look at how the industry can introduce measures that encourage more investment and new ways of working.

“I’m delighted to be asked to lead this review. The construction industry’s skills shortfall has been growing progressively and its ageing workforce now means affirmative action needs to be taken to avoid more acute issues in the future,” said Farmer.

“A healthy and robust construction sector is vital to underpinning the government’s commitment to delivering critical new housing and infrastructure projects. It will also ensure the unrivalled economic multiplier effect related to construction activity continues to play its part within the wider UK economy.

“The industry needs to seize the opportunity to celebrate the vital contribution it makes and, in partnership with government and other key stakeholders, ensure it overcomes the current barriers to fulfilling its potential.”

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