Is there a solution to combat the ‘breaking point’ of the skills shortage?

Is there a solution to combat the ‘breaking point’ of the skills shortage?

The Midlands Construction Summit (MCS) is set to return to the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, on the 27 September 2016. The Summit will be exploring ways to address issues that negatively impact on the future of the UK construction industry, whilst focusing on three intrinsically linked key themes: Skills, Image and Productivity. MCS will feature a prominent speaker line up including Adrian Belton, Chief Executive of CITB and Ann Bentley, Chairman of Rider Levett Bucknall.

A recent survey by Scape Group, a public sector owned built environment specialist operating across the West Midlands, and exhibitor at the Midlands Construction Summit and Expo, reported that the skills shortage in the construction industry is at ‘breaking point’. The report was published on the back of ONS data released in August which shows construction output has decreased by 8.25% quarterly and 2.24% annually in the West Midlands.

The survey found that 85% of senior managers in public sector organisations said that the skills shortage was affecting project quality, indicating on the potential implications that the skills shortage was having on the image and productivity of the construction industry.

Initiatives, such as the Experience Construction, are examples of how it is possible to encourage pupils into construction careers through life-changing work experience placements and in turn contribute to decreasing the skills shortage through an increase. With the number of pupils choosing one of the STEM subjects at A-level or GCSE seeing a worryingly decline year on year, it is imperative that businesses within the construction industry engage with pupils at a much younger age in order to ‘spark their interest’ of a career within the industry and guide them into choosing the correct subjects to equip them with the sorts of qualifications that they need to access a wide variety of construction careers.

Sarah Davis, Chief Executive of Skills4Stem, and speaker within the skills session at MCS, believes that in order to fill the skills gap the construction industry needs to explore a much more diverse workforce beyond just gender. “We should be looking to build diverse teams that bring different age groups, life experiences, belief systems, education and skills together to solve problems and create collaborative perspectives together. The industry as a whole must promote the construction Sector in different ways so we can attract more diverse talent into the construction sector because we must be agile and more innovative to survive and flourish in the future.”

The Midlands Construction Summit will deliver insight on how to future proof construction businesses from the issues surrounding Skills, Image and Productivity. These three themes are all intrinsically linked and have a domino effect. A poor image of the industry creates a skills shortage as the young and upcoming generation are seeking more appealing career prospects. Skills shortages add to poor productivity as the industry lacks the workers and resources to keep up with demand.

Entry into the Midlands Construction Summit costs just £95 plus vat and includes; parking, lunch and refreshments throughout.

For more information, or to book your place, visit: www.midlandsconstructionsummit.co.uk

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