Digital Development in the Construction Industry
We’ve been reporting on the skills gap here in the UK for quite some time and most of our reports cover the shortage of workers who have the manual skills and expertise necessary to ensure high quality buildings that are fit for the future. However, there is another type of skills shortage that has come as a result of the construction industry’s adoption of digital technology in recent years – a dearth of workers who have the technical and digital skills required now to transform our industry as we face an increasingly technical future.
Thanks for processes such as BIM, digital engineering is now the most progressive and rapidly changing areas in today’s construction sector. As we face the future, digital processing is likely to become a vital component of all types of construction activity and the industry has been slow to respond to the need to upskill workers to meet current and future demand. Right now, the industry does not have enough workers who have the right type of digital and technical skills that will transform our sector and deliver the digital revolution necessary for the 21st Century.
One response that could help to address the digital skills shortage is to start at ground level and make sure that all new construction recruits should be trained to recognise the vital role digital processes have to play in construction and consider this in all work activities in future. Whilst we recognise the need for improving the digital culture in construction, specialist skills will still be required – we need to recruit and train a new generation of workers who have sufficient expertise in BIM by developing BIM apprenticeships that will offer young people and school leavers an attractive career, specialising in digital construction skills.
Fortunately, it’s not just the youngsters who are suited to lead the digital skills revolution in construction, some of the industry’s current workers are showing signs of getting onboard with BIM and other digital processes. We’re seeing an increasing number of construction workers taking up the opportunity to gain digital qualifications that are required for future success. Whether it’s training in BIM (Building Information Modelling), or CAD (computer aided drawing), there are some forward-thinking players in construction who are spotting the opportunities for successful careers in 21st Century construction.
As an industry, we need to be encouraging workers who show signs of digital expertise and the ambition to gain the qualifications necessary to take their careers in construction to the next level with extra training. These are exactly the types of workers who we will be relying on as the leaders of the future in construction. By training these people as data and digital experts, with a combination of classroom-based education and on the job experience, we can begin to address the skills gap across all areas of construction.