The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has published a five-year forecast into the skills needs of the construction industry. It has decreased growth expectations for infrastructure, which is expected to grow by only 1.9% compared to 3.1% in the forecast last year.
Construction Skills Network (CSN) report’s slower forecast is said to be heavily impacted by Brexit uncertainty and by Wylfa, the Welsh nuclear power plant, being stalled by investors in January.
Industry leaders also expect growth of 1.3% in construction across the UK, down from one-third of a percent in 2018. The forecast is based on the expectation that the UK will agree to an exit deal with the EU.
According to CITB, the largest increase will be in public housing. Local and national government financial support is supporting a public housing growth rate of .2%, up half a percent since the forecast last year.
Despite the overall economic uncertainty, more construction workers will be required over the next five years. An estimated 168,500 construction jobs will be created in Britain over the next five years (10,000 more than projected in last year’s forecast) and industry employment is expected to be 2.79 million by 2023, only 2% less than its 2008 peak.
A supplementary report identified the need for the construction industry to increase investment in the domestic workforce and increase productivity while working with the UK government to maintain access to migrant workers during an adaptation period after Brexit.
To lessen the impact of Brexit, the report’s recommendations include:
- Attract talent by increasing apprenticeship starts and completions, open the industry up to under-represented groups, and provide opportunities for better work experiences.
- Retain the construction workforce by making it easier for older workers to remain, upskilling the current workers, and improving its mental health support offering.
- Be productive by establishing a Future Skills Strategy to determine the skills needed to modernise construction, bring digitalisation forward, and encourage investment in modern construction methods.