10th November Journal Column

 

 

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Last month, more than 50 house-building companies committed to upping their game in training and recruitment.

The Skills Pledge is the latest scheme to come out of the Home Building Skills Partnership (HBSP). The HBSP is a body that was set up to tackle the industry’s skills shortage. It will focus on attracting new recruits into the industry, and on providing focussed training to develop the qualified workforce needed to build high quality new homes.

In total, more than 50 members of the Home Builders Federation (HBF) have signed up, including all its larger members and many medium and small businesses. The number of companies already committed are responsible for over half of the homes build in England.

The Skills Pledge covers five key areas: collaborate and share, working with the industry to improve recruitment and skills development; train to a standard, ensuring that the workforce is trained and qualified to industry standard; engage and support, both recruits and sub-contractors; champion diversity and inclusion and promote careers.

For the industry to build the high-quality homes that we desperately need, we need to commit to recruiting and training the right people. We need to focus our attention away from fear of skills shortage and towards training and apprenticeships if we want the industry to grow in the long term.

I have voiced my opinion numerous times on the need for more opportunities for young people and for better training standards, so it’s really encouraging to see schemes and initiatives dedicated to just that.

The recently announced 5% Club is focussed on creating the drive behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. It was founded as a means of investing in the next generation of skills – something the industry needs to do consistently to reduce the chance of future skills shortages, especially with the Farmer Review pointing out that 700,000 new workers will be needed in five years to replace those retiring.

Some of the industry’s biggest companies have already signed the Skills Pledge and I’d love to see many more across the North East getting on board and working to make the skills gap a thing of the past.

The Skills Pledge and the 5% Club both focus on driving recruitment and training in the industry, it shows that we’re serious about improving how we train new recruits. It’s too often said that something needs to be done, and I’m glad that we’re not just talking the talk, we’re finally walking the walk.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.