The UK’s construction sector is one of the country’s leading economic drivers; however, in recent years skills shortages are becoming an increasing concern for many construction companies. Research carried out by recruitment specialist, Search Consultancy, has found that 83 per cent of construction businesses feel the strain from the lack of skilled workers. Whilst the number of job opportunities in construction is rising, the number of suitable candidates is not. A report from the Construction Skills Network has estimated that the built environment requires an additional 266,000 workers to meet projected construction demands in the UK over the next four years.
So why is there a skills shortage in construction?
The skills shortage in the construction sector is due to a combination of factors such as an ageing workforce and the impacts of Brexit and economic uncertainty. The construction workforce in the UK is ageing, with over 20 per cent of tradespeople over fifty and 15 per cent in their sixties. As these workers retire, fewer young people are entering the industry to replace them, which means that there is a need to educate young people on the opportunities and career paths available in construction to encourage them to enter the industry.
What are the effects of skills shortages in the construction industry?
One of the main risks that many construction organisations face with skills shortages is an inability to fulfil projects due to the lack of suitable, qualified candidates. Not only does this impact profit, but it also has a big impact on a construction company’s reputation. The Open University Business Barometer states that in 2020, short-term gaps cost UK construction companies an additional £2.2 billion compared to 2019. Furthermore, difficulties in sourcing staff may also lead to increased recruitment costs as businesses may find themselves overpaying to secure skills that are limited.
How can apprenticeships help to bridge the skills gap?
Apprenticeships are a key element in reducing the skills shortage within the construction sector in the UK. Research by The Open University shows that 48 per cent of employers felt that apprenticeships are vital in closing the construction skills gap. Construction apprenticeships help to attract a new workforce by providing an accessible starting point for young people to enter the industry. They offer the benefit of earning a salary whilst gaining hands-on experience and learning the industry-recognised skills employers want. Not only do apprenticeships help to encourage younger people to enter the industry, they can also help construction companies to retain their staff by providing them with the opportunity to upskill and progress the existing high-quality workforce. Construction companies that invest in training and development can create a diverse and sustainable workforce, leading to better staff morale and improved productivity and quality.
How NOCN can support you with Apprenticeship End Point Assessment
NOCN is a leading Independent End Point Assessment Organisation who have successfully been delivering End Point Assessments since 2017. Working with training providers and employers, NOCN ensures that all apprentices have the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the new employer-led apprenticeship standards. NOCN currently delivers 26 End Point Assessments for a range of apprenticeship standards in the Construction sector, with five more to be launched in 2023; these include:
- Lightning Protection Operative
- Demolition Operative
- Construction Support Technician
- Advanced Carpentry and Joinery (new assessment plan)
- Steel fixer (new assessment plan)
If you are interested in any of the construction End Point Assessments that NOCN offer or would like to find out more information, visit our website or email us via email@example.com.
As construction companies across the world struggle with a lack of skilled personnel, some innovative employers are using apprenticeships to bridge the skills gap and bring in well-trained young workers. Apprenticeships in the construction industry provide a unique opportunity for employers to cultivate the next generation of builders, engineers, and mechanics.
The construction sector has been hit by a perfect storm of an aging workforce, an overall skills shortage, and a period of stagnating growth. To make matters worse, Brexit has caused a considerable amount of uncertainty surrounding EU labour laws, which means many workers from other countries are reticent about coming to work in the UK. This has resulted in a difficult situation for many construction companies, who lack the skilled workers needed to drive their businesses forward.
Apprenticeship schemes, however, offer a solution. Companies are discovering that it is increasingly practical and cost-effective to hire apprentices and give them the technical training they need to become fully qualified. Apprentices are motivated by the desire to learn, usually eager to please, and have the added advantage of already being familiar with the latest technology and working practices.
One of the main benefits of an apprenticeship programme is that employers can tailor the training to suit their specific needs. Apprentices can learn on the job, in the classroom and through online training, with companies having full control over when and where their apprentices are taught. This gives employers the flexibility needed to ensure their staff are up to date with industry standards.
It’s also important to remember that apprenticeships are as much (if not more) about developing personal skills as they are about providing technical training. Many employers report improved morale and loyalty amongst apprentices as they feel a strong sense of personal achievement. Furthermore, any high-performing apprentices can often be retained by companies, giving them access to loyal and committed workers.
In summary, apprenticeships are a valuable tool for construction employers. They allow companies to bring in a vibrant and well-trained new generation of workers, while injecting much-needed talent into the sector. Apprenticeships also offer employers the flexibility to tailor their training to suit the needs of their organisation, and the chance to cultivate a loyal, highly skilled workforce. It’s clear then that in order to stay competitive in today’s market, it’s crucial for construction companies to consider the value of apprenticeships.