Tackling The Construction Skills Gap

14 December 2018

This year, in partnership with Humber LEP, we commissioned Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to undertake research into the anticipated demand for construction across our areas, to contrast that with the provision of construction workers and training within the area. Such insight allows us to address both the immediate and long term challenges that the construction industry faces, balancing future demand with a ready skilled, construction workforce.

On Wednesday 5th December, CITB launched their research findings at our industry facing event hosted in partnership with Humber LEP. You can read the report HERE

Their research shows that to meet construction demand by 2022, some 49,300 workers are required in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership area. The Humber LEP area requires 28,500. It was also noted that, like many other sectors in our region, construction currently has an ageing workforce, identifying a significant need to recruit young people into the industry.

The focus of the event, Tackling the Construction Skills Gap, was to highlight potential medium and long term solutions to the skills gap in construction, with numerous industry partners invited to speak.

Delegates heard from Samantha Hind from Humber Training Group and Jonathan Hind from Kingstown Works LTD who presented a STEM and Enterprise Activity, ‘Roots to Roof’, which aimed to promote careers in construction to schools. Their success at shifting student’s perceptions about construction was echoed by Keepmoat Homes’ Matthew Laurie. Keepmoat Homes deliver primary school enterprise days based on construction and Matthew reported that 64% of pupils who took part in the day said they would be interested in a job which sits in the construction sector.

Joe Booth from Hobson and Porter got a great reception to the impact of ‘Foundations Live’, a programme which brings the industry together to create two events under one roof:

  • A professional business networking and trade event for employers in the construction sector which provides the opportunity to learn about the latest products and innovations and generate new business but is also run as;
  • An interactive careers event for people of ages from primary schools through to adult re-training. Schools, colleges and training providers from across the region will meet at Foundations Live to learn what the industry has to offer and how it will face the challenge of an ever-present skills shortage.

It’s a great example of a collaborative working relationship with employer and training providers. Hobson and Porter, Jewson and Bishop Burton College and CITB’s partnership is key to its success. Looking ahead, the engagement between the construction industry and schools can be further increased through our Careers Hub, one of 20 national hubs, which was won by our team to offer intensive careers education, support and guidance to schools across our York and North Yorkshire.

Graham Radcliffe, Chief Executive at Northern Regeneration spoke about the challenges around people training in, but not then progressing to jobs within the construction industry. In response to this issue in Scarborough, Northern Regeneration established the Construction Skills Village. It’s an alternative model of training designed through consultation with construction employers and developers with the aim of bringing education and industry closer together. Training is all practical, site based learning in a safe environment, giving an authentic experience of what working in construction is like. The Skills Village delivers Pre 16 Alternative Curriculum, Adult Provision, training for people wanting to change career and move into the construction sector and apprenticeships. It also offers site visits for schools.

Delivering apprenticeships in construction can be a challenge for small and micro construction employers. Catherine Bishop from EN:Able Futures, a not for profit company specialising in Social Value Guidance, shared successes from their award winning shared apprenticeship programme. They employ and share their apprentices to companies for project assignments to ensure the apprentice completes their full framework and the companies benefit from the experience of an apprentice within their business.  

Constructions plays a vital role in the success of the economy. Not only is it a major employer, but it also enables economic growth through creating the facilities and infrastructure for commercial and industrial advances, tacking issues such as housing shortage and creating jobs across the area. It is, therefore, essential for the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership to invest in actions which support the success of construction across the area and address issues, such as the skills gap, which hinder its success.

You can read the CITB research report for York, North Yorkshire and East Riding HERE

To support employers in every industry, to work with apprentices and navigate the funding, we have worked in partnership with Humber LEP to develop an Employers Apprenticeship Toolkit. You can view and download the toolkit HERE

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