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Skills shortages still a concern for 'faltering' construction industry

Tom Newcombe , 13 May 2013

building

The construction industry is still suffering from skills shortages, according to results from the Chartered Institute of Building's (CIOB) 2013 skills audit.

According to research from more than 1,300 CIOB members, 82% said there was a lack of skilled domestic construction personnel. Respondents cited the scarcity of high quality training investment from both Government and industry as being responsible for the skills shortage.

Apprenticeships were identified by 90% of respondents as vital in plugging the skills gap within the industry.

The research showed in those companies offering apprenticeships, some 72% of apprentices are offered permanent employment within the organisation past their training period.

Michael Brown, deputy chief executive at the CIOB, said: "It is encouraging there are still a number of construction companies taking on apprentices, particularly when many are suffering with reduced margins and workloads.

"Moreover, it is positive to see the construction industry delivering long-term apprenticeship training, with many apprentices being offered further opportunities to build upon these skills."

Almost half (41%) of the members surveyed said the construction workforce will decrease over the next year. And 53% said their organisation had already made redundancies in 2013.

As well as skills shortages in the construction industry research published today by recruitment agency Hays, reveals shortages exist in sectors such as energy, IT, health, education and finance regulation.

In addition, a lack of engineering and IT graduates has added to concern in technical industries over the emergence of a small elite of highly paid contractors within the limited pool.

Barney Ely, director, Hays HR, said: "Employers need to take a strategic, long-term look at the skills they are lacking and commit to investment in developing talent in these areas, whether through training, apprenticeships, university bursaries or considering training people with transferable skills.

He added: "It is clear the education system isn't currently in synch with the needs of business and there is also a significant gap in the subjects people are studying and those offering career opportunities."

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