The Construction Industry - The Times They Are A-Changing

The Construction Industry - The Times They Are A-Changing

08th October 2015

The new government’s plan for increasing productivity here in Britain has committed to the following:

  • A vision to refocus vocational provision
  • Three million new apprenticeships
  • Simplifying and streamlining the number of qualifications
  • A network of technical institutes

The National Infrastructure Pipeline lists the planned government infrastructure projects, including those that are in the early stages where funding has not yet been secured and may not actually come to fruition. This is a strategic planning tool that provides the transparency necessary to help businesses plan and provide investors with confidence – it details £411 billion of investment in 564 projects and programmes from 2015/2016 onwards with an increase in investment in transport, energy, communications and environmental networks.

The National Infrastructure Plan for Skills sets out the results of skills analysis and modelling of the National Infrastructure Pipeline. It’s predicted that at least 100,000 new construction workers will be necessary over the coming five years to deliver the planned improvements in the UK’s infrastructure. With government analysis revealing that more than 250,000 construction workers and 150,000 engineering construction workers will be needed by 2020, there’s an urgent need to recruit and train the additional workers by 2020. This news comes hot on the heels of a major upheaval in the way in which workers are trained and new recruits are attracted to the construction industry.

Lord O’Neill, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury has said that it’s crucial “we have the right people with the right skills in place to build and maintain our first-class infrastructure, essential to rebalancing our economy”.

As we’ve already revealed this week, the government is currently planning a pan-industry levy on all big companies to boost apprenticeship numbers and this may result in the end of the current Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) system which has been in place in the UK to deliver funding for industry related training. The apprenticeship levy will be economy wide and involve large employers in the construction and engineering construction industries as well as all other large employers in the UK. In the future, contractors may have to make two levy payments or the current CITB levy may be scrapped altogether.

The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association, CECA has welcomed the National Infrastructure Plan for Skills, describing it as a resource for industry to prepare for the substantial amount of work coming online over the next few years. CECA believes that better visibility of the demand for skills combined with a policy environment that encourages companies to invest in these skills is the way forward to create the next generation of employees to deliver the projects within the National Infrastructure Plan.

There will also be a requirement to retrain and upskill the existing workforce over the coming decade in order to ensure that the UK’s construction industry workforce is competitive in the future and able to deliver the projects being planned so that Britain keeps pace with the demands of 21st Century living.