SECBE

News: Construction Apprenticeships a priority for skills investment in Berkshire

18 May 2018

Skills shortages among the challenges facing the construction industry

The Berkshire Local Economic Partnership released their "2018 Berkshire Skills Priority Statement" at the recent Berkshire Skills Summit conference. This statement highlighted the importance of the construction sector to the continued development of Berkshire.

CITB have estimated that a £1.3 billion spend in new housing, £320 million in public non-housing construction, £388 million in commercial construction and £418 million in new infrastructure projects are planned across Thames Valley Berkshire.

However, the industry in Berkshire faces many challenges. 16% of the workforce are over 55 years old and there is increasing demand for workers due to the planned infrastructure and building works. They highlighted that the cyclical nature of the construction activity makes it difficult for employers to take on apprentices and that there are many vacancies that companies are finding hard to fill, such as carpenters, bricklayers and management, including QS.

In 2016 there were 150 construction apprenticeship starts in Berkshire and CoTrain accounted for 4% of this total. The area has just four colleges in the area that are delivering apprenticeships.

Tim Smith, CEO of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP commented that “The latest iteration of the Skills Priority Statement for Berkshire makes clear that the construction industry plays an important role in delivering economic growth. It also highlights that skills shortages and an ageing workforce are among the challenges facing the sector’s ability to deliver planned infrastructure works and housebuilding. That’s why our Statement identifies the ‘construction job family’ as a priority for skills investment in Berkshire.” 

Tim's comment could be echoed across the South East as a whole. Some of the future work strategies identified by the Skills Priority Statement are increasing the amount of work experience offered, continuing to promote the construction industry to females and a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme, such as CoTrain can contribute towards driving more people into the industry.

CoTrain has successfully helped get apprentices into the construction industry, many of whom are now working directly for Berkshire based construction companies. To find out how a Shared Apprentice can help your business and help to meet key performance objectives around adding Social Value, contact samantha@cotrain.org.uk 

 

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