a bid to help to develop a skilled workforce.
These schemes cover building, civil engineering,
construction management, electrical servicing,
surveying, heating and plumbing, as well as
specialist apprenticeships such as roofing,
scaffolding, plastering, bathroom and kitchen
fitting and other skilled areas.
These apprenticeships don’t guarantee jobs but
they do show some commitment to addressing
the ever-widening gulf and it is time now for
those of us who operate within the industry to
step up and invest.
Companies also need to invest in safeguarding
the future of our industry by upskilling their
For example, to ensure we have a pool of
skilled drivers, we have given all our warehouse
staff the opportunity to train to achieve their class
two license, and for our existing drivers to upgrade
This is widening the skill set of our team whilst
ensuring we have the right resources in place to
support our business.
Because the industry is so big, it has to become
a collective responsibility and one that we can’t
afford to allow to rest on the government’s
BUILDING PRODUCTS | NOVEMBER 8
shoulders alone. We must
work harder to attract the
next generation to our
industry and invest in
adequate training to ensure
that we have the bestqualified
staff to carry the
baton, moving on.
There’s a lot more that
we all could do to reach out to trainees and
apprentices. In the first instance, any junior
or unskilled roles that we are offering should
come with the potential for training and career
development, just as a matter of course. We need
to better incentivise our new starters and make
sure that we are focused on developing skills.
The fact that output is on the up, despite all
the fears that have surrounded Brexit and the
uncertainty of recent years, is excellent but we
can’t ignore the imbalance that not fully investing
in the workforce has created.
It’s time to look forward with positivity and
to take a degree of ownership of the situation. If
demand is outstripping supply and we want to
stay in business, then we have to own it. The UK
can’t rely solely on skilled labour from the EU, we
have to also invest in our own.
This may involve forging more links with local
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industry requires a
schools and colleges, as a boots-on-the-ground
exercise to demonstrate that we mean to make
those changes but we have to approach this as
a long-term investment that will help us all to
prosper in years to come.
As an industry, we need to invest in our current
workforce, whilst attracting the future talent to
the industry. We need to see a larger buy-in from
companies at all levels; from main contractors to
manufacturers. Only then will we see the changes
required to meet ambitious governmental targets
and bridge the skills shortage within our industry.