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It is always helpful to engage with fellow industry professionals as we seek to improve UK construction, and I am looking forward to presenting with my SkillsPlanner colleague Chris Dransfield at next month’s CIRIA half-day conference, “Addressing the skills gap“, in London on 6 July 2016.

As you would expect of a research and information organisation, the CIRIA event will look at recent and current surveys and academic research highlighting current shortages and gaps in skills (some of which have previously been discussed on our SkillsPlanner blog), including:

The CITB CSN, for example, predicts sustained growth from 2016-2020 of 2.5% every year and says we could require 232,000 new jobs, driven largely by infrastructure and private housing, with new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and Wylfa, Anglesey, alongside rail projects such as Crossrail and HS2, and increases in house-building.

The CIRIA conference will explore current industry initiatives, research and trends within the construction skills gap area, and will enable the sharing of ideas and best practice through presentations and discussion relating to these initiatives and trends. We are looking forward to discussing:

  • How can we make the construction industry more attractive to graduates and school leavers and what are the barriers to attracting new talent?
  • What are the current models of graduate schemes and apprenticeships and what initiatives are currently challenging and improving these processes?
  • What are the future skills (digital, off site manufacturing, sustainability skills) that we need develop through staff training and apprenticeships, and how can we diversify the opportunities for people entering the construction sector?
  • How can we ensure supportive and inclusive environments and improve retention rates?
  • Can skills provision adapt to accommodate changing construction environments and technologies?

If these are questions that you have been asking in your own organisations, it would be great to meet you at the conference on 6 July.

About Rebecca Lovelace

Rebecca has 15 years experience working across the London construction industry, specialising in the strategic development of employment and skills partnerships and associated frameworks. Prior to joining Ethos Rebecca was Community Development Manager for Lendlease, where she led on its Building London Creating Futures programme and co-founded the Be Onsite charity that connects disadvantaged jobseekers with the Lendlease supply chain. Rebecca holds an MSc in Urban Regeneration and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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