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Is the Construction Industry failing new or potential entrants to the sector?

15/03/18
Posted by: Christopher Ruddick

TDM has written several blogs on the issues the construction industry is facing. The biggest threat being the ongoing, and deep-rooted lack of new blood entering the industry.

That is even before the word “Brexit” and mention of the number of EU workers that work in the construction industry across the UK, albeit with a very high percentage in London.

However, one element we have not focused our microscope in detail on, is the diversity, and more so now, what is the nature of the training new entrants receiving?

We have touched on this in the past, but unfortunately the industry still has an image problem. By image “problem” we mean that the defining image of the industry is still one of hard hats, hi viz and someone with bricks (although clearly there is still a need to have such skills!).

Clearly for many already in the industry there is greater understanding of this diversity, but we are all guilty to some extent of failing to help change the image and highlight the diversity within the market.

Such diversity could (and arguably should) include areas that are more “professional”, such as including surveyors etc. That clearly at times are still required “onsite” and do form part of the “construction industry”.

Equally, under “diversity” we include career development as clearly some of today’s more junior workers will be tomorrow’s senior ones, whether that be a person starting out doing basic construction jobs that ends up being a site manager.

Moving on to our second point many may ask what do you mean by "what is the nature of the training new entrants receiving"?

Well in short it means are they receiving the right type of training to help deliver the latest projects utilising the latest construction methods. Or are they being taught overly “traditional” methods that the industry may consider using less of to meet:

  • The average of 300,000 new homes being completed by the mid 2020’s
  • Ensuring that these homes are “affordable

Added to fuel that fire is the increasing level of media reports that highlight that another housebuilder is utilising new methods of construction, such as modular homes. Even to the extent that some recent reports are seeing new industry entrants from previously unseen areas such as those that have origins in the renovation/conversion arena.

It is no secret that many in the training area of the industry may have left the overall industry some time ago. Therefore, not teaching the latest methods that the industry is beginning to utilise more often.

Equally in some cases it is simply a case of the providers failing to provide and update courses frequently enough (or significantly enough) to cover these new methods within the industry.

Clearly to both these issues there is several solutions. The most obvious that goes across both issues is the industry engaging more, albeit in two very different ways.