Construction firms must win the war for A-level talent, says RICS

Construction firms in Yorkshire and the Humber must develop more training-based employment programmes for young people if they are to help alleviate the skills epidemic in the industry, an industry body has warned.

Victoria Hampson, regional director for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The UK construction industry is expected to create around 190,000 new jobs by the end of 2018 but there is a growing fear that there will not be the talent to fill them.

Victoria Hampson, regional director for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North & Midlands, said: “We have to make it easier for young people to find an appropriate route into the industry, whether that is through apprenticeships or degree-level qualifications.”

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She added: “Our research shows that if the skills epidemic doesn’t improve in the next three years, 27,000 planned buildings are at risk of not being built.

“If we’re to overcome this, we need to reduce the dropout rate from apprenticeships and other training courses by better linking them to the nature of the jobs that are likely to be available, along with relevant qualifications.”

RICS, which sets standards in the land, property and construction sectors, is working with a number of Yorkshire and Humber firms, including BAM Construct, CBRE, Carillion, DTZ and Balfour Beatty, to develop a range of Trailblazer apprenticeships which will see apprentices, upon successful completion, gain vocational and academic qualifications.

Sweett Group in Leeds, a professional services provider for the construction and management of building and infrastructure projects, has won awards for its quantity surveying apprenticeship scheme which has brought a young and diverse group of individuals into the business.

James Grinnell, group HR director at Sweett Group, said: “Our quantity surveying apprenticeship programme enables us to work with local colleges and promote our industry to young people from all backgrounds.

“We currently have 25 apprentices, with a recruitment strategy aimed at accurately reflecting the diversity of the areas in which we operate.”

Miss Hampson added: “We are calling for employers in the sector to support our work in bringing through the next generation of construction talent.”

Employers interested in delivering a Trailblazer apprenticeship can find out more at www.apprenticeships.org.uk/standards