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Not only is the UK construction industry very fragmented – something we mentioned when talking about building a better built environment industry – it is also very dynamic: it is a sector which is constantly moving and changing. As a result, the SkillsPlanner team must constantly monitor relevant developments, shifts and trends in employment, education, training, skills and technologies.

To help keep all our stakeholders updated about such changes, Plymouth University’s SERIO applied research unit is part of our team, and it recently produced its first intelligence briefing on the UK construction industry skills landscape (PDF) – one of several SkillsPlanner background briefings now available in our media section. A series of SERIO briefings will be published throughout the two-year SkillsPlanner programme, written in clear, non-academic English, and intended to engage our audiences with the ongoing R&D project.

The state of the construction sector

As we are still in the early intelligence and data-gathering phases, the first briefing provides a broad initial overview of the key issues affecting the demand and supply of skills within the construction sector in London and the southeast. On the demand side, the ageing workforce (see previous post), technological changes such as adoption of modern methods of construction, government regulations, and the impact of the recession are summarised. On Supply of skilled workers, the briefing looks at:

  • the industry’s (in)ability to attract potential recruits
  • employer attitudes
  • the limited completion of apprenticeships
  • regional imbalances in qualification levels
  • migration
  • volume of training provision, and
  • local issues affecting travel to work or training.

The briefing then outlines recent developments including the establishment of the National Infrastructure Commission (post), changes in apprenticeship funding, plus funding for further and higher education, and area-based reviews. As well as giving a readable outline of key changes, the briefing also includes hyperlinks to source information.

New data

CITB 2016-2020 forecastPerhaps inevitably, given the volatility of the industry, almost as soon as we published the briefing, one of these sources was updated. Today, we’ve been browsing through the latest CITB/Experian Construction Skills Network Forecasts 2016-2020, which shows over 230,000 new construction jobs need to be created across the UK by 2020.

We believe SkillsPlanner will help the UK meet that target, and in this video, project director Rebecca Lovelace describes how.

We will be publishing more information about the project throughout the next two years. Another, longer, video (including a clip filmed at SERIO in Plymouth) will be published later this month when we formally launch the SkillsPlanner project at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London on 24 February. If you haven’t received an invitation and would like to come to this event, please email us at skillsplanner@ethosvo.org.

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