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Construction skills shortages create apprentice opportunities

Skills shortages are being reported by over half of the construction industry’s large and medium-sized house builders, suggesting a real opportunity for young apprentices to step in.

The Home Building Skills report – which is published by the Home Builders Federation, National House Building Council, Construction Industry Training Board and the Zero Carbon Hub – found that 57 per cent of companies were having problems recruiting skilled site managers, site operatives and quantity surveyors.

In light of the improvements in the housing sector, these skills shortages are worrying as it may mean that construction firms cannot keep up with the increasing demand for new homes.

The report also found that many companies were considering training apprentices to fill in the skills gaps. Fifty per cent of all home builders and 80 per cent of local housing associations were found to be taking on at least one apprentice this year.

Chief Executive of the National House building Council, (NHBC) Mike Quinton, told Construction Enquirer: “Everyone has known for some time about the ageing workforce and the impact of the recession on our industry’s ability to attract and retain skilled workers.

“As the home building industry shows the first signs of growth after several years, we are now hearing increasing alarm about the availability of the right people with the right skills to allow us to maximise these opportunities for growth.”

The NHBC has recently launched a new skills portal that assists people in tracking down training, skills and qualifications within the housing sector.

“The portal provides an important pan-industry response to help tackle these skills shortages – to make it faster and easier for existing employees and new entrants to see what skills and qualifications are needed now and in the future, to support their career plans and to get them registering for training as quickly as possible,” Rob Lockey, training services manager at NHBC, told the news source.