Addressing and bridging the skills gap within the built environment

Addressing and bridging the skills gap within the built environment

As the built environment tackles expansion, climate change, and advancing technologies, the demand for skilled professionals is high. However, a large disparity exists between demand and the availability of sufficiently qualified and experienced professionals.

In the 2023 Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report, The Skills Construction Needs*, the CITB identified the need for almost 225,000 extra workers by 2027 to meet the current UK construction output.

Reasons for skills gap

Some of the reasons that can lead to a skills gap within the industry include:

  • Lack of investment for training without funding and support for training programmes, aspiring professionals and existing workers struggle to gain the specialised knowledge and expertise required. This not only hinders career growth but also affects the quality and safety of construction projects. Investing in training is essential to ensure that the workforce remains competent and proficient to meet the growing demands of the built environment.
  • Digital and technology changes – the construction industry is going through a reframing period, as companies are getting to grips with the increased need for digital skills and modern methods of construction. Major changes are happening, and individuals that don’t prioritise the need for skills in digital and technological areas will struggle to keep up with the demands that are placed on them. Focusing on furthering your knowledge on digital and technological changes will help to give you a competitive advantage.
  • Age disparity – many experienced construction professionals are retiring, taking their valuable knowledge and skills with them. By losing these talented people through retirement, the skills are taken with them. These skills are then not reinvested into the remaining workforce, creating a gap in skills for those still working within the industry.

Bridging the gap:

To bridge the skills gap, construction companies must take proactive measures. Some strategies include:

  • Attracting people to the industry – attracting more people to the industry is key to bridging the gap. This can be achieved by showcasing the varied roles within the built environment and emphasising career growth to inspire individuals to explore careers in this sector.
  • Training and education programmes implementing training and education initiatives can help equip workers with the latest skills and knowledge. These programmes should focus on both technical and soft skills, ensuring a well-rounded workforce.
  • Embracing technology construction companies must embrace technology and invest in digital training programmes. This could include teaching employees how to use construction management software, drones for site surveys, and other advanced tools.
  • Raising awareness – raising awareness of the skills gap is a must. A proactive approach to education and promotion can help ensure professionals can improve existing skills, and further new skills as they move throughout their career.

The skills gap in construction is a pressing issue that requires industry-wide attention. By investing in education, training, and technology, people and companies working within the built environment can ensure that they are equipped to meet the demands of today and the future and encouraging others to join the industry. Investing in this sooner rather than later could give both an individual and a company working within the built environment a competitive edge against others in the market.

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*The Skills Construction Needs -