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Local Councils Eager to Take Trades Training in Hand

“For too long we've trained too many hairdressers and not enough bricklayers” is the current gripe of the Local Council Association (LCA), which this month published fresh analysis of the levels of trades training taking place in the UK. According to the LCA, the UK is facing a serious skills shortage, with too few trainees learning the ropes required for skilled jobs in the construction sector.

As the construction industry grows stronger, with increasing demand for skilled labour, the British workforce is coming up short, with too few trainees enrolling on trades training courses to fill the growing demand for bricklayers, carpenters and interior fitters.

Call to devolve trades training to local councils

Anticipating serious consequences to this clear pattern, the LCA are keen to begin devolving responsibility for trades training to local councils. This devolution is predicted to make it easier for councils to work closer with local construction employers, schools, colleges and employment services, with a view to helping more young and unemployed people find their feet in the industry.

Demand rises as apprenticeships fall

To put the problem into perspective, in 2015 the annual predicted recruitment need is 53% higher than it was in 2013. By alarming contrast, there are 10,000 fewer construction qualifications due to be awarded this year compared to two years ago. While demand has doubled, apprenticeships and qualifications have dropped. In fact, since 2009, completed construction apprenticeships have more than halved, falling by 58% in eight years.

Housebuilding schemes boost demand

With the Government pushing ever more ambitious housebuilding, the construction industry has been vocal about the barrier to building the current skills gap poses. With clear regional differences in skill levels (the West Midland needs more wood workers, while the North West is suffering from a lack of bricklayers), devolving responsibility to local authorities could make all the difference, ensuring local needs are met in future.

What persuaded you to begin training for a trade? How can local councils encourage more young and unemployed people into apprenticeships? How has the skill shortage affected your job? Share your opinions below.