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Skills shortage forces construction firms to turn down work

Published on 21st August 2015

The skills shortage has become so severe that two-thirds of small and medium-sized construction firms have had to turn down work due to difficulties finding the right workers.

A survey conducted by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that 66% of its members had turned away new business and almost half had been forced to outsource work because of a shortage of construction workers with the required skills.

While bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, plasterers, scaffolders and roofers were among the workers companies found most difficult to source, many employers also said it was difficult to find apprentices.

Respondents suggested a lack of apprenticeships coupled with the perception that tradesmen are poorly paid and pressure from parents to stay in full-time education deterred young people from entering the industry.

With only 7,000 apprentices completing their training each year, despite the industry needing around 35,000 new apprentices to cope with demand, the situation looks set to further deteriorate.

Hayley Ellis, FMB Director of Training and Membership Services, said there is a desperate need for apprentices and urged school leavers to give serious thought to the training opportunities available in the construction sector.

“Apprenticeship schemes offer a balance of technical skills and workplace experience, so school leavers can learn on the job and hone their skills – and build a really meaningful career,” she said. “The construction industry offers fantastic earning potential and a whole host of exciting careers.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy and Strategy for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said that a construction apprenticeship would set up a young person for a “fantastic career”, but suggested that employers should also consider other training options to find the skills they require.

“The shortage of skilled people is the biggest issue currently facing the construction industry,” said Mr Radley. “Recruiting apprentices is an important part of the solution, but so too is upskilling those already in the industry, as well as attracting those who have left to come back into the sector.”

Kalcrest Site Services help construction companies to find the skills they need for their projects. We can supply experienced, reference-checked workers for trades, labouring, management and technical roles on a short or long-term basis.

Call us on 01709 720348 or contact us via for more information about our recruitment services.

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