It was reported this week that Britain is being forced to fill gaps in its labour markets with overseas workers. Construction firms are hiring Portuguese bricklayers to fill a shortfall in supply in the UK market. Due to the lack of skilled British workers, these foreign brickies are able to demand wages of up to £1000 a week, twice the average rate of £200 a day.

However, ample opportunities do exist for British workers to gain the skills required to satisfy an increasing demand within the construction industry.

Able Skills is a specialist in construction training offering eleven types of bricklaying courses, including City & Guilds, CITB and DIY qualifications.

These courses are offered on both a full-time and weekend basis, so they’re flexible enough to fit around existing commitments. They offer introductory courses for complete beginners and more advanced courses for people looking to build on existing skills. For those who’ve been working in the industry for over five years but lack official qualifications, there are NVQ level 2 and 3, as well as CSCS Cards options available.

Accommodation is offered on site and there are even interest free payment and finance options available to help spread the cost of training. Able Skills also offer advanced learning loans for 24-year-olds and over. So, if you’re studying at Level 3, Level 4 or higher you can apply for a loan to meet your course fees. The loans are open to anyone meeting the age requirements and taking an eligible course at an approved institution in England. At present they are offered in the fields of electrical installations, plumbing, carpentry as well as NVQ performance units.

The growing demand for skilled construction workers was recently highlighted in a report published by Manpower UK, a global leader in innovative workforce solutions and part of the ManpowerGroup. They found that hiring plans in construction are set to jump to pre-recession levels. Employment prospects in the sector are expected to rise by around 9% in 2015. The energy sector also looks set for an even greater increase in demand, upwards of 15%. This follows a bumper year in 2014, which saw the highest level of job creation in forty years in the UK.

What should be fairly clear is that these increased employment opportunities should be open primarily to British workers rather than looking abroad. However, with organisations like Able Skills providing the necessary training across the relevant industries, UK workers will be available to enjoy this upturn in market fortunes.

Whilst there may be some truth in what Manpower claims about British companies looking abroad, this should not be the main story here. Rather, it is the fact that increased investment in our young people and skilled workers will benefit us all. Ultimately, this is a positive story that will hopefully have an equally happy ending for British workers.