Last edited 10 Mar 2016

Government calls on the construction industry to build home grown talent

On 1 February 2016, Skills Minister Nick Boles and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis called on the construction industry to build more home grown talent, getting more young people to consider careers in construction. They asked the industry to develop an action plan to address the skills shortage that is holding back housebuilding and infrastructure development, and to consider new models of construction such as off-site manufacturing.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) an industry / government council intended to get Britain building, has been asked to review of the skills the industry needs to meet the nation’s demand for housing. CLC has asked Mark Farmer, chief executive officer at real estate and construction consultancy Cast, and former Head of Residential at Arcadis, to identify actions that will help bring more workers to the industry.

Reports such as Farmer’s ‘People and Money’ identified the training environment as a complex capacity issue for the sector due to high levels of self-employment and the fragmentation of the supply chain. It also found existing labour models gave only weak long-term incentives for subcontractors to invest in training.

To inform the review, the CLC is keen to receive evidence on the following topics:

  • How the construction labour model and recruitment practices impact on incentives for skills development.
  • What business models and other arrangements could better support skills and skills pipelines.
  • What measures could improve incentives for capacity investment and the introduction of new ways of working.
  • What are the barriers and enablers to greater use of off-site construction?
  • How could the range of participants in the UK housing market be broadened?

Brandon Lewis said, “…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 said, “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.”

Mark Farmer said, “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. 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.

Comments were required by 29 February 2016.