9th October Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

It seems our prayers have finally been answered; the effort is being made to address the skills gap and to get young people into the industry.

Wherever you look, there are campaigns to encourage people to consider a career in construction and to increase the skills of those that are – which is what I’ve been wanting to see for so long.

We’re currently supporting The Armed Forces Employability Pathway programme (AFEP) which links Army Reserves, Local Authority, Job Centre Plus and local employers to assist participants into work.

The six week programme consists of team building, problem solving exercises and help writing CVs. It ends with a placement within the industry, and a review to discuss strengths and weaknesses.

The Journal have just launched their ‘Let’s Work Together Campaign’ and the CITB have recently launched their Go Construct campaign, both encouraging companies to address the skills gap in the region. They are working towards filling the 220,000 jobs that are needed in the next few years.  The campaigns were launched following research that showed that four in five respondents wish they had been given more advice on a career in construction when considering career options.

The problem seems to lie with education, not just in skills and training like you would expect, but more in simply educating people on what the industry can offer them.

The private sector, education and the Government must unite and work together in order to solve the skills gap crisis and allow the industry to grow.

The Government have offered their support by announcing that the apprentice and national minimum wage will increase from this month. The apprentice wage has increased by 57p per hour, which is the largest increase in history, making apprenticeships more attractive to young people.

But we need help and support to spread the word about our industry, why we love it and what it can offer. That’s why I think UK Construction Week is such a good idea.

UK Construction Week, the biggest trade event for professionals, launched this week and will run from 6-11 October. The event will include shows specific to UK construction, and allow professionals to come together and address issues, develop skills, seek out and recognise talent.

Having such a big event to celebrate the industry helps to spread the word on what the industry has to offer, which is exactly what we need.

I for one, love working in construction and am proud of what we have to offer. So let’s spread the word and educate industry novices, shout it from the roof tops if we have to, (roof tops that were built by workers from our industry, just in case you didn’t know!).