Bridging the Widening Skills Gap: How and why?
The construction industry isn’t a new one and as with any industry that has existed for a long time, public perception tends to be a little distorted from the reality of the situation. Ask a member of public what they think about when you say the word ‘construction’ to them and they will most likely talk about hard hats, high-vis jackets and bricks.
For those within construction, however, the industry is an incredibly dynamic and exciting place to work right now. With high demands for housing, work places and entertainment spaces comes a requirement for new and innovative construction methods.
We’ve looked into some of the new technologies likely to have a large impact on the Construction Industry in our blog series ‘Future of Construction’:
- Droning on – The uses of drones in construction
- Prefabrication: What is it and what difference is it going to make?
- Bioconcrete Heals itself. Could this be the future of construction?
- Looking forward: What does the future hold for construction?
- Garden Town developments to be fast tracked with funding from the Government
Dodging the Construction Industry Iceberg
Each of the new technologies, systems and ideas discussed in the blogs above open up fantastic new potential for the construction industry. However, as with anything new, people have to know how to use the systems to get anything out of them. It’s no good talking about the time-saving nature of modular construction, if the workers on site aren’t skilled up on putting it all together. It can be as advanced as physically possible but it still won’t be water tight if those actually doing the job aren’t skilled up with the new technology.
So we come to one of the looming icebergs veering into the path of the construction industry, the widening skills gap. You can have all the technology in the world but without the people to utilise it, it’s simply expensive and useless especially if older systems still dominate.
Career Advice for Career Advisers might be needed
As a standard, career advice in the UK is lacking. Construction in particular suffers from a focus on education paths for traditional trades with courses on new methods hard to find. In an industry as wide reaching as construction, a sector wide approach with buy in on all levels will be required to fully counter this information gap. However, there are organisations already stepping in to attempt to bridge the skill gap and get more people in roles within the industry:
- UK’s first ever Building Control Surveying Qualification Pathway Launched by LABC
- Redrow Launches First Ever Housebuilding Degree
The skills gap is too wide to be bridged by any one organisation, but the efforts by both Redrow and LABC to support those looking for careers in construction are fantastic steps in the right direction.
What’s key is that these new technologies are unlikely to slow down for the foreseeable future and as such the industry is going to continue to evolve. So it must learn to evolve and adapt with it or risk being left behind.