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We must inspire and challenge perceptions to attract talent


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The picture isn’t yet perfect and under the surface there are still rumblings about the industry being held back by a lack of skills – it’s not just the shortage of bricks that’s the problem but the shortage of brickies.

There is a lack of skilled industry talent at all levels and with demand for homes and supporting infrastructure on the up current human resource is being spread too thin.

Mark Robinson, SCAPE, Group Chief Executive

This data indicates the pace of growth in hiring is accelerating, which shows the situation is going in the right direction, but on the ground staff shortages still perpetuate.

To counter this, steps are now being taken toward attracting more young people to the industry. For example, as of September, the government is taking into account apprenticeship provision when awarding large contracts and has published a consultation on the design of the 'apprenticeship levy', which is planned for the largest businesses by 2017.

There is a rapidly ageing workforce in construction and built environment services with as many as 400,000 workers set to retire in the next five to ten years – so these initiatives should help begin the reversal of the talent-gap trend soon.

However, we should not be complacent and it is important current industry leaders seek to inspire young people of both genders at early stages in their careers. We have found that arranging school visits to key project sites can bring colour to the diversity of roles in construction and the depth and breadth of skill involved, while also challenging current perceptions of the industry at a young and formative age.