?Skills time bomb is ticking’ says FMB

A skills time bomb is ticking within the construction industry, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which claims that skills shortages are on the increase across a number of trades.

Results from the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey for the final quarter of 2014 found that while firms are having particular difficulty recruiting carpenters, joiners and bricklayers, over 30% reported problems in the procurement of roofers.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said:

“As the shock waves from the latest economic downturn continue to reverberate through the construction sector, concerns over diminished workloads have been replaced by concerns over skills shortages.

“The skills time bomb has arisen for a number of reasons. Around 400,000
construction workers left the industry since the downturn hit in 2007 and many will never return. If you combine this with an increase in workloads as the economy recovers, all the signs point to the skills shortage getting worse before it gets better.”

Mr. Berry added:

“The FMB is working hard to help address this skills shortage but the Government must also play its part. If ministers could do one thing to help address the problem in the medium term, it should be to review its proposed apprenticeship funding reforms, which our members tell us will prevent them from being able to train apprentices. In the midst of a skills crisis, it’s the last thing the construction industry needs.”

Under the Government’s proposed reforms, employers will be responsible for co-investment in apprenticeships. This was immediately met with disapproval from small employers who linked the principle of cash co-investment to uncertainty about actual funding levels.




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