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Tuesday, 12 November

Mind the Skills Gap

BSRIA has published a paper on Bridging the Skills Gap and states what industry needs from the government to recruit new entrants.

The paper looks at how to incentivise, communicate, build skills, promote diversity and the next steps and was written by Jeremy Towler, Senior Manager, Energy & Smart Technologies, BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence.

It states that it is widely recognised that the construction industry has ‘resourcing and skills issues’ and that the root causes are:

  • Too many in government do not have an engineering background and so are ‘disconnected’ from industry.

  • Schools do not start early on to inform students about engineering.

  • There is poor link between schools and further education through technical colleges and apprenticeships.

  • There is poor communication by industry about what engineering is and the value it adds to the UK economy.

“Government can help industry to communicate better to make engineering more interesting,” declared Julia Evans, CEO, BSRIA. “We need to move the focus away from one of being a ‘construction industry’ to one focused on ‘the built environment’. This will help to make it more attractive to young people who, for example, have grown up with software gaming and modelling.”

Ms Evans went on to state that on the question of diversity that it had taken “many generations to get more female engineers on board” but that the status quo did not look set to change without some external impetus. “Government needs to help industry to find ways to be more inclusive in all demographic aspects, to attract more diversity into our industry and to raise the status of engineers – if necessary, through some form of incentivisation,” she urged.

She believed it was essential to help ensure that apprenticeships were not just an excuse for cheap labour but were well structured and prepared individuals for a meaningful and rewarding career.

Picture: Julia Evans, CEO, BSRIA –“We need to move the focus away from one of being a ‘construction industry’ to one focused on ‘the built environment’.”

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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