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Skills shortage as new house market recovers

As the construction industry shows signs of upturn, there are significant new opportunities for those entering the sector, according to a new report.


The combination of increased work opportunities, created by growth in construction, and an ageing workforce means that skills shortages look to be a significant issue for the industry over the near future.


According to the 2013 Home Building Skills Report, one in five industry respondents felt that the UK already had a ‘major problem’ with skills shortages, while 87% felt there would be a problem in the future.


The report produced by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), the National House Building Council (NHBC), the Construction Industry Training Board and the Zero Carbon Hub, found the issue to be industry wide, from electricians, tillers and plasterers, through to site managers, quantity surveyors and building control officers.


NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton said: “As the home building industry shows the first signs of growth after several years, we are now hearing increasing alarm about the availability of the right people with the right skills to allow us to maximise these opportunities for growth.”


Large home builders were found to be among the most concerned groups, along with architects and product manufacturers. At the smaller end of the market, 43% of sub-contractors said they couldn’t hire good workers.


Product manufacturers were also said to be having difficulty finding suitable graduate trainees (60%) and technical advisory staff (47%).


The situation was seen as being of ‘grave’ concern, with one builder quoted as saying:  “If you turn up production another 10 per cent I think we are all going to be in trouble.”


There was also concern in the industry that many school leavers aren’t interested in working in construction. One product manufacturer said: “Young people are not interested in established trades because young people’s interests are different to what I was interested in years ago. They’re more interested in computer skills than trades.”


The four organisations have set up a website,, which signposts people to training, skills and qualifications in the housing industry.


NHBC training services manager Rob Lockey said: “The portal provides an important pan-industry response to help tackle these skills shortages – to make it faster and easier for existing employees and new entrants to see what skills and qualifications are needed now and in the future, to support their career plans and to get them registering for training as quickly as possible.”


Posted on July 1, 2013 by

Skills shortage as new house market recovers