Addressing the Skills Shortage – Recommendations from City and Guilds

Addressing the Skills Shortage – Recommendations from City and Guilds

01st October 2018

The City and Guilds Group, in conjunction with The Work Foundation recently launched a new report exploring the challenges that face the construction sector here in the UK and calling on the government and industry representatives to take action to future proof the construction sector through lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling initiatives.  Here at Safety Fabrications, we’ve long advocated the need to find new and effective methods of addressing the current skills shortage, which is only predicted to get worse after Brexit when our pool of overseas workers is likely to be reduced.

The City and Guilds Group collaborates with education providers, employers and governments in more than 100 countries to shape skills systems and support skills development in order to benefit individuals, businesses and economies. 

The Work Foundation is a British non-profit organisation that provides advice, consultancy and research on the future of work, improving the quality of working life, leadership, and economic and organisational effectiveness.  The Foundation works with government, business organisations, the public sector and other non-profit institutions, reporting on various aspects of the labour market.

The new report is named “Constructing the future:  How the skills needed for success in the workplace are changing” and emphasises the importance of the construction industry as the fourth largest sector by turnover and the fifth largest by employment.  Despite the industry’s size, 5% of companies claim that due to technological advances, their workforce does not have the necessary skills to do their jobs in the future.

Research demonstrates that more than half (54%) of companies are negatively impacted by the growing skills shortage, while investment and productivity remain low, leading to a decrease in profits across the sector. 

With self-employment on the rise, the industry is struggling to attract and retain young workers and the number of younger professionals in our sector has fallen to a third of what it was in 2005, a worrying development as we head towards Brexit.  The report contains five key recommendations, calling on the government, the construction industry and the education sector to take the following actions:

  1. Diverse Learning and Development Schemes which reflect the diversity of activities within the construction industry, providing more opportunities for young people to experience real-life activities, including via digital platforms.
  2. Industry Training and Collaboration to ensure relevant and high quality learning for leadership and management, technical and digital expertise, and soft skills.
  3. Apprenticeship Alignment – levies should be aligned and revised to support all forms of learning and development as our sector experiences more technical and organisational changes.
  4. Inclusive Initiatives on upskilling and reskilling, such as the National Retraining Scheme to meet the needs of the entire workforce, especially sole traders, the self-employed and micro businesses.
  5. Tax Relief for the Self-Employed for training so that self-employed workers are encouraged to participate in learning.  By recognising the cost of such activities and offering simple schemes to offset costs against income, self-employed workers are more likely to invest the time and money in training for the future.