Construction: an industry of opportunity
Opportunity – for young people, employers and society – is central to the new Construction Leadership Council’s skills plan.
The plan shows how much Construction and built environment has to offer society and provides solutions to short and long-term challenges.
Construction is a major engine of the UK economy employing 2.7m people, contributing 8% output to the economy.
The plan recognises the great potential industry has on themes including:
- Innovation and creativity. Construction will be at the forefront of arguably the biggest challenge facing humankind – climate change – which makes our industry a career of meaning and value.
- Jobs. Industry offers high-skilled, well-paid jobs, the chance for workers to take modern, green skills across the globe.
- New entrants. Construction gives people a chance in life. As CITB Chief Executive Tim Balcon wrote recently: “Industry loves to see fresh talent which is why new entrants with a great attitude are welcomed with open arms.”
Of course, our work on the plan did not blind us to the pressing issues construction and built environment faces.
Yes, there is a skills challenge.
Yes, the pace of diversity and modernising needs to increase.
And, yes, the record on mental health needs to improve rapidly. Industry is working on these issues day in, day out.
But it’s important to recognise the genuine change and opportunity our industry is undergoing and has to offer.
There’s a lot on the agenda, much to look forward to, here’s what we’re planning.
The aim of the plan is to offer solutions to short and long-term construction skills challenges in England.
These include how to:
- Meet employers’ demand for skilled workers.
- Train and retain people.
- Ensure the workforce is competent.
- Expand construction and built environment’s career appeal.
- Train experienced workers to become teachers.
The plan outlines how industry can deliver the workers industry needs through shared, aligned priorities. These priorities are: culture change; routes into construction and built environment; competence and future skills.
Working on those priorities won’t be easy, particularly in the short-term, given the economic outlook for the rest of the year.
However, the long term forecast for construction and built environment output is positive.
Recent headlines have been promising, too. CITB estimates an extra 225,000 workers will be required across the UK from 2023 - 2027.
The aims of last year’s plan were focussed on culture change and diversity. These themes will be important part of our work during in the year ahead.
CLC projects for 2023-24 include:
- A pilot to give schoolchildren a chance to learn about a career in construction
- The launch of a new competence approach to ensure there is an accepted, accredited definition of competence for all construction and built environment occupations.
- Expanding the new entrant apprenticeship brokerage service and introducing a new apprenticeship mentoring standard to increase apprenticeship starts, continuation and completions.
- The launch of Phase 1 of the Career Pathway Hub, an online portal aimed at defining high value career pathways for net zero, digitalisation, smart construction and repair maintenance and improvement.
To deliver this plan, partnering for skills is paramount. This means employers of all sizes investing in people, improving industry’s working culture and attracting new talent for future skills demand.
There are a variety of practical ways people across industry can support the plan.
- Employing and mentoring an Apprentice
- Transferring or pledging your Apprenticeship Levy
- Offering a T-Level industry placement
- Engaging with education providers teaching alongside your current job
- Providing a work experience opportunity
- Posting vacancies on Talent View Construction
- Training your workforce in Fairness, Inclusion and Respect
- Becoming a Construction STEM Ambassador
- Promoting Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs
We want to involve more small businesses in our work, to get a real multiplier effect on what we're trying to achieve. For that to happen, collaboration is essential.
There’s a lot to look forward to and be grateful for.
On behalf of everyone at the Construction Leadership Council I would like to express our gratitude to Jackie Ducker and Mark Reynolds, outgoing People and Skills network Co-Chairs. Jackie and Mark’s hard work has left a strong legacy.
Moving forward, we hope you agree that there are genuinely exciting opportunities on the horizon.
Let’s work together for construction skills in England, for new and existing workers and for the benefit of the UK economy.
CITB Strategy and Policy Director and Co-Chair, CLC People and Skills Network