What's in the news: How is the skills shortage affecting homebuilding targets?
The construction industry has been facing a shortage of skilled workers, which has worsened over the last few years.
With government plans to build 300,000 homes per year by the middle of the 2020s, the risk of these plans falling through is becoming ever more apparent.
What's the cause of the shortage?
The workforce in the UK construction industry is ageing, meaning while many tradespeople are heading into retirement, not enough young people are replacing them. Young people are simply not choosing construction as a profession despite the endless opportunities, with just 3% of 18 to 24-year-olds searching for work in the construction industry according to YouGov research.
What is the reason for the loss of interest?
The lack of interest from young people might be down to the perceptions of the construction industry. Younger generations have been born into a world of technology and the industry is one of the sectors which hasn't been digitalised. Perhaps perceptions of the industry have been tainted by generalisations about tradespeople from parents and teachers who instead are encouraging a path toward university.
What can be done?
The largest hurdle is tackling the perception of the construction industry and encouraging younger generations to choose it as a viable career path. The construction industry does and will continue to need the younger generation to build sustainably and to accommodate the growing demand for housing as the population expands.
The first step is educating young people about the industry and the career paths involved within it. One way of doing this is to provide first-hand experience to give individuals a chance to see what it is really like to work in the industry.
Following on from providing experience opportunities, training programmes need to be implemented to close the skills gap and fill the demands of not just labour intensive jobs, but tech jobs in construction too.
Until new talent is recruited to close the skills gap, the construction industry might well still suffer from a shortage. It's important that the construction industry encourages young people to choose it as a career path by training and educating future generations so that new housing doesn't fall behind.
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