A plan which highlights actions to bridge the region’s construction skills gap has been officially signed.
The Sector Skills Plan for Construction sets out the needs in the sector and actions which can be taken to help ensure they are met:
- Just over 59,000 people are employed in construction occupations in Norfolk and Suffolk and research indicates that a further 900 to 950 recruits to the industry will be needed every year in the two counties, not including employment on potential future projects such as Sizewell C.
- Housebuilding accounts for just over 50% of construction employment in the region and part of the region’s Strategic Economic Plan is the target to build 117,000 new houses by 2026. The requirement for innovative modern methods of construction to build sustainable housing means new as well as existing skills are needed and it is an exciting time to join the industry.
- There are shortages across the industry, including repair and maintenance, house-building and infrastructure projects and in professional and technical careers such as Quantity Surveying and Construction Site Management as well as the trades.
The plan has been developed by employers in order to address the skills gap in construction by giving young people a greater awareness and experience of the wide range of careers and progression opportunities in the industry, as well as encouraging other sections of the community to consider a career in construction. It has been jointly approved by The Building Growth Group and the New Anglia LEP Skills Board.
The plan was officially signed by Andy Wood, Chairman of New Anglia Skills Board, and Saul Humphrey, Chair of the New Anglia Building Growth Group, on 14 December at Great Yarmouth College.
Actions identified in the plan are already under way, including projects between training providers and employers to ensure that:
- Construction students have access to appropriate work experience and opportunities to progress into apprenticeships
- Construction training provision meets the needs of employers
- The need for more higher level construction-related courses in the region is addressed
Other delivery plans include working with non-traditional potential recruits to the industry such as ex-offenders and Armed Forces Veterans and working closely with the Energy Sector to ensure a sustainable, highly trained and qualified workforce.
Andy Wood, Chair of the New Anglia Skills Board and Chief Executive of Adnams, said: “This plan is the result of impressive partnership working across the sector. New Anglia LEP, through the Skills Board, fully supports the actions agreed in this plan and recognises the importance of helping to ensure that a sector that is crucial to the growth of this region has the skills it needs now and in the future.”
Saul Humphrey, Chair of the New Anglia Building Growth Group said: “We need to identify new ways of addressing the skills gaps in construction, including giving young people, as well as their influencers such as parents and teachers, a better understanding of the range of opportunities in the industry and the exciting ways in which technology and new construction methods will shape the built environment in the future”.
The Construction Sector Skills plan is available here