A sector-wide skills campaign is being launched by the Construction Leadership Council, in what is thought to be an industry first.
The Industry Skills Plan for the UK Construction Sector 2021-25 sets out the key skills challenges facing construction and how they will be tackled.
It sets out a series of actions and commitments for both industry and government to help meet the challenges, under four areas: careers; standards and qualifications; training, education and development; and culture and working environment.
Meanwhile a new ‘Talent View’ portal will be created to improve access to construction careers as well as to boost their attractiveness to new entrants. Separately, an industry standard for work experience will be put in place, and up to 7,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will be encouraged to join the sector-specific Construction and Built Environment scheme, with a target of 1,700 fully supported by 2024.
A set of new construction traineeship programmes, and a pathway from further education into construction, will be developed in order to support and boost routes into the industry.
And there will be a move to focus of competence by developing new competence frameworks. New training standards will be set in two areas: to support the drive towards Net Zero fossil fuel emissions; and for Smart Construction to develop digital and offsite construction skills.
The CLC said it also supported the drive towards increased direct employment. The plan supports government mandates on direct employment through procurement.
Welcoming the new initiative, Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and a member of the CLC Senior Advisors Group, said: “For many years now, the construction industry has faced a continuing skills shortage. Combined with the consequences of the pandemic, the need to address the loss of skills, experience and expertise from our industry has even more urgency. The CIOB is fully behind the Industry Skills Plan and is already well placed to support much of the work, particularly with our expertise in competencies and educational frameworks.
"I’m also pleased to see the social and cultural aspects of our industry referenced in the plan. Attracting those who are embarking on their careers and making the industry as inclusive as possible are also important areas of focus.”
Mark Reynolds, group chief executive of Mace and CLC member, said: “This is the most ambitious and wide-ranging skills plan the construction sector has ever produced. It should have a far-reaching impact on how we attract, retain and develop people in construction and help deliver upon government’s home-building and infrastructure plans.
“Many of the challenges we address in this plan will require a shared commitment over years, so the hard work starts now to deliver real and lasting change for the benefit of the whole sector.”
Sarah Beale, chief executive of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and chair of the CLC Skills Network, said: “While the past year has been incredibly challenging for all of us, Industry has pulled together more than ever before, and this plan is the result.
“We now all need to get behind this plan, and support sector-wide initiatives such as the Talent Retention Scheme, STEM Ambassadors and the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect programme. There’s no doubt that if this spirit of collaboration continues and this plan is delivered, Industry will be much better able to attract new talent and meet upcoming skills and productivity challenges.”