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Skills shortfall puts contractors at risk of collapse

One in 20 contractors is at risk of going under due to a shortfall of skills, research by the CITB has revealed.

Two-fifths of contractors were struggling to recruit workers with the right skills and one in 20 firms said they were at risk of collapsing due to the lack of talent joining the industry, according to a survey of 300 contractors.

The CITB said around 62,000 jobs would be at risk if those contractors were to fail as a result of the lack of skills.

“We need to show that construction is a high-tech, world class industry with outstanding career prospects”

James Wates, CITB

CITB chairman James Wates said more needed to be done to address the skills ‘time bomb’ in the construction industry.

“With major projects such as the new nuclear build programme coming online in the next five years, now is the time to start sparking the imagination of young people and harnessing their talent for the future of the industry – any delay now could be putting the industry’s growth on hold,” he said.

CITB Censuswide survey of 300 contractors found:

  • 42 per cent were struggling to recruit skilled workers
  • 5 per cent were at risk of going under due to skills shortage
  • 18 per cent said skills shortages had hampered growth
  • 66 per cent wanted more incentives to hire young people
  • 52 per cent said better careers advice should be given

Nearly one in five contractors said that a skills gap had hampered their growth over the past two years, and one in 10 said they had lost out on work due to competitors having a more skilled workforce.

The survey also revealed that two thirds of contractors think there should be more incentives to help them employ young people.

Half of respondents added that more careers advice was needed to inform young people about careers in the construction industry.

In response, CITB and JCB have launched the Construciton4Growth Skills Drive to visit schools and skills academies across England and Wales to encourage young people to explore construction careers.

“We need to show that construction is a high-tech, world class industry with outstanding career prospects,” Mr Wates said.

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