The British construction sector is set to receive a £17.8m investment to support employers in training and retraining more skilled workers to help the industry face the skills challenges of the future.
CITB Onsite Experience Commission will help the construction industry tackle the skills gap by providing 18,000 site-ready workers and help it to grow more of its own workforce. The industry is being invited to apply for funding over the coming months.
“This major investment will build on the success of the Construction Skills Fund and represents an historic investment in training a site-ready workforce for construction employers across England, Scotland and Wales,” said CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale, announcing the new money in Ipswich at an industry-led conference on delivering sustainable homes.
Beale continued: “Onsite Experience comes at a critical time for construction when it will need to grow more of its own workforce. CITB’s ‘Big Six’ support British construction to recruit its future workforce, which will also include a major careers campaign and substantially increased support for employers taking on apprentices.”
CITB’s Construction Skills Network report shows that construction requires 168,500 skilled people to enter the industry over the next five years.
“Meeting demand for new homes and investing in infrastructure requires more skilled people in construction,” Sarah Beale continued. “We face the perfect storm of an uncertain post-Brexit migration system, and an ageing workforce with many set to retire in the near future. It is therefore essential that the industry attracts, trains, and retains new talent wherever it can be found to ensure construction isn’t hampered by a shortage of site-ready workers.”
Over the next three years 20 new hubs will be established on construction sites across England, Scotland and Wales, tailored to provide training in trades where particular shortages have been identified and connecting new talent with educators and employers. Each hub will develop links between employers, colleges and local government to meet locally identified skills needs.
Many of the hubs will be in rural and “left behind” areas that have also not benefitted from the earlier and complementary Construction Skills Fund (CSF). They will draw on lessons learned from the CSF, which has already exceeded many of its targets.
Sarah Beale concluded: “Britain urgently needs more construction workers, and more opportunities for people from every background and every region. I am confident that by making its largest ever investment in the Onsite Experience Commission, CITB can provide the construction industry with the modern workforce it needs to become more inclusive, more sustainable, and construct a better Britain.”