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‘Record’ Skills Shortage Threatens Government’s Construction Plans

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‘Record’ Skills Shortage Threatens Government’s Construction Plans

According to recent reports, small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are facing a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople, a problem that is said to have now reached “the worst level on record”. With the Government recently announcing plans to build “hundreds of thousands” of homes a year, any shortage of construction workers could pose a serious threat to the completion of the Government’s grand plans.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) revealed in its quarterly industry report that bricklayers and carpenters in particular are in short supply. While these are the disciplines with the most striking shortage of people, the amount of plumbers, plasterers and electricians is also falling short of requirements for the UK’s businesses.

The shortage of skilled individuals in the aforementioned roles is both the cause and the consequence of a number of different issues. The skills shortage means that wages are increasing drastically for people with the required skills, which means that smaller businesses are struggling with the financial output needed to hire tradespeople in these disciplines. Where the cost of wages is an issue in itself for many companies, the expense required for materials adds to existing financial pressures.

While the skills shortage is in its current state, it remains to be seen how the Government will be able to follow through on their promise to build new homes in their thousands, as well as the various infrastructure work that is taking place across the UK.

With the ongoing confusion and uncertainty over Brexit, there have been calls for the UK to allow free movement of people from the EU. Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Without skilled labour from the EU, the skills shortages we face would be considerably worse, and it is not in anyone’s best interest to pull the rug out from under the sector by introducing an inflexible and unresponsive immigration system.

In terms of few benefits that the situation has provided people with, according to Mr Berry, is that those who are without work following the collapse of Carillion will likely find new employment in the industry swiftly, as their skills are in such high demand.

The need for skilled tradespeople is greater than ever before, not just in the aforementioned practices but in sectors across the construction industry. Gaining skills that can be applied in construction can be invaluable in terms of future employment, and Health and Safety Training UK are proud to offer comprehensive training in a variety of disciplines for candidates throughout the North East. For more information about our courses, please get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

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