“We must plan for tomorrow by acting today”

The future of the construction industry relies heavily on the recruitment of young blood like Kyle Griggs

The future of the construction industry relies heavily on the recruitment of young blood like Kyle Griggs

Skills shortages are set to hit the construction industry over the next few years, Dorset-based SMD says. A 1.7% sector growth forecast for five years until 2021 means recruiting the industry’s next generation of young people is of vital importance, as currently, the number of workers retiring from the industry is outnumbering new entrants.

SMD says it is acutely aware of the problem and runs an apprenticeship programme, but is also looking at other schemes to plug the skills gap.

Dan Williams, business development director at SMD, said: “We are undoubtedly facing challenging times and this skills shortfall is likely to be magnified in the mid-term.

“Continuing growth is obviously excellent, but we are going to need a new generation of construction industry workers to keep up with demand.

“At SMD our apprenticeship scheme brings in young people to learn a trade and gain vital experience while still studying – youngsters, who may otherwise have been lost to the industry.

Dan goes on to say that: “anyone not seriously seeking future-proof solutions may well find themselves in serious difficulty.”

He also admits that many young people coming out of schools and colleges are not interested in a career in the construction industry.

Helen Rivero, HR manager at SMD, said she was looking to establish better connections with schools and colleges: “I want to make them more aware of the company’s apprenticeship scheme as an excellent route to a good career in the construction industry.”

Kyle Griggs joined SMD as a junior CAD technician after finishing a level two engineering course at Bournemouth & Poole College.

Kyle, whose work has included designs for student accommodation in Manchester, hotels in Liverpool and Southampton and at Heathrow Airport, has done a level three B-Tech exam and is currently studying for a level two NVQ.

SMD says attracting people like Kyle will be crucial to keeping up with the predicted growth of the industry.