Boardroom to building site skills gap survey
BRE Academy is the specialist training and development division of BRE (Building Research Establishment), an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation.
In March 2016, at Ecobuild in London, BRE Academy launched Boardroom to Building Site, a skills gap survey of more than 300 respondents from a cross-section of the UK construction sector work force between 1 November 2015 and 31 January 2016.
The survey established a picture of the UK’s skills gap from senior leaders down to sub-contractors. This was intended to help policymakers, businesses and academia understand which skills are needed now and 10 years from now, if the industry is to embrace and deliver transformational change.
It has been widely reported there is concern about the level of education, development and skills in the industry, as well as a perceived lack of interest in choosing construction as a career. 61% of respondents to the survey felt we need to do more to promote the diversity of the industry, that is, make clear it is not just about bricks and mortar, and 56% said we should do a better job showcasing and promoting role models from across the spectrum of the industry.
Coming just weeks before the government BIM mandate, requiring BIM level 2 as a minimum on all centrally-procured public projects, the survey revealed that key BIM and management skills are lacking in individuals, organisations and the wider industry. It also found that sustainability and trade skills such as plastering, electrical and plumbing were seen to be in short supply.
BIM, sustainability, and smart technology were considered to be the key areas for growth in the next 3 and 10 years. But there was thought to be a need for stronger leadership from professional bodies to promote technical training and to offer a wider range of memberships and reduced fees more suited to a wider cross-section of the industry.
It was felt that the government in particular could do more to help empower smaller, local businesses to offer apprenticeship training programmes and that they could provide greater financial support.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said, ‘Surveys like this one help us in designing effective policies. We remain committed to creating 3 million more apprenticeships in this Parliament many of which will be in the construction sector and we are particularly keen to increase the sector’s diversity and help encourage more women to participate.’
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