Four leading authority figures have voiced their concerns about the skills shortage in the UK’s construction and engineering sectors.
As was reported in our previous skills shortage piece, there is a major shortfall facing the industry which could have a huge impact on the UK.
Ann Watson, chief executive of Semta (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance), Sarah Beale, chief executive of the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board), Amanda Clark, president of the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Michael Brown, Deputy Chief Executive at the CIOB (Chartered Institute for Building) have admitted that supply isn’t currently fitting demand...
Ms Watson says that we must start looking at the school system, but that means employers getting involved too. She said:
We need to be starting much earlier. We need children of primary-school age to be given the opportunity to see what a modern cutting-edge engineering workplace looks like.
While the Government has prioritised a focus on work experience for pupils aged 16 to 18, by then it’s often too late.
So many young people who have an engineering skill and aptitude are lost to the sector because they’re not given that encouragement earlier.
It’s not just about work placements. It’s even more important that at school they are not receiving negative messages about the sector.
Meanwhile, Mr Brown is a big fan of the apprenticeship levy. He said
It is encouraging that there are still a number of construction companies taking on apprentices, particularly when many are suffering with reduced margins and workloads.
Moreover, it is positive to see the construction industry delivering long-term apprenticeship training, with many being offered further opportunities to build upon these skills.
Ms Beale was also optimistic the shortage can be addressed if the correct modernisation takes place. She said:
Construction’s continued growth, forecast to average 1.3 per cent over the next five years, along with news that employment will rise for the fourth year running is encouraging.
However to recruit the extra 158,000 construction workers required to meet demand by 2022, industry must collaborate on a range of skills and recruitment challenges.
UK construction needs to boost apprenticeships and work placements. It also has to reduce the skills supply gap and accelerate the pace of modernisation. As part of this, CITB needs to reform and modernise swiftly too, as demonstrated in the feedback during our biggest ever Levy consultation.
In my first year as CITB Chief Executive I have seen excellent work to boost skills and employment across the UK.
In Scotland the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme continues to go from strength to strength with over 5,000 modern apprentices currently in training.
Meanwhile, Ms Clark added:
We need a long term programme is needed to evolve the skills and practices of the sector in line with cultural and technological change. This would be done to attract a more diverse workforce and take advantage of efficiencies offered by new ways of building.
We also need a new pathway for entry into the sector at a post graduate level for established professionals wanting to transition into the construction sector, with appropriate levels of higher apprenticeship funding.
Does any of this ring true to you? If you have an opinion on the current skills shortage we'd love to hear from you!
Leave a comment or get in touch to discuss more on 0141 404 3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The construction and engineering sectors in the UK are facing a skills shortage of unprecedented levels. One report by Engineering UK estimates that 1.8 million people need to be trained by 2025 to fill the gap. This could have a huge effect on the country as a whole with delayed projects, falling profitability of companies and public anger at havoc on roads, bridges and railways.
So what are the factors to blame for this shortage? And more importantly what can be done about it?
Not encouraged at school
Young children might already be turned off a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) before they even reach secondary school. STEM subjects have been unpopular for a while, with many schools unable to encourage anyone to take these subjects at A-Level. Several STEM related agencies and youth schemes have pledged to support the Year of Engineering in 2018.
Not enough work experience placements
School children in many instances are not exposed to possibilities. While some schools include work experience in the school year it isn’t compulsory, and often engineering companies don’t take on pupils because of health and safety fears. Employers have a lot on their plates at present, especially with the uncertainty of Brexit, and safeguarding for the future falls below more urgent concerns.
The stigma of apprenticeships
New apprenticeship legislation – an employer levy to boost numbers of apprentices – and the introduction of new standards for the work-based training have been implemented recently. The apprenticeship levy can be used to train and develop existing employees as well as find new staff. But public perceptions need to change towards apprenticeships. Parents often don’t value this route.
The diversity issueThe number of young women embarking upon construction and engineering careers remains low. Many employers are introducing formal schemes to encourage diversity, and offering policies such as flexible working. The industry is still commonly viewed as the sole preserve of males and this is may be holding further growth back. This can be overcome with greater collaboration and partnership between educators and employers.
The BREXIT factorWith Brexit on the horizon and the uncertainty surrounding the status of EU workers, the prospects for UK employers finding construction and engineering professionals look bleak. Brexit negotiations aside there is much the industry can do but wait and see. Either way there must be an increasing collaboration between employers and educators to facilitate and encourage a much needed growth of homegrown talent in the sector. Whereas up until recently, skilled and educated workers from the continent would happily step into the breach with realistic prospects of living in the UK, it may now be seen that the UK is no longer quite as attractive for skilled foreign nationals as it once was.
Many qualifications exist that demonstrate the technical competence of a candidate but one of the most sought after by employers is Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Typically earned while on the job, the Chartered Engineer qualification shows that you can solve practical problems, think outside the box and complete work to a high standard – all essential when you’re managing a project. CEng qualifications are particularly attractive to employers due to the emphasis on solving problems using innovative solutions, incorporating new technology and team leadership. Here we take a look at the routes that can be taken to achieve CEng status, and the options that can open up for candidates who have the qualification:
The CEng standard requires a high level of knowledge and understanding. In order to ensure you qualify for CEng status you must have a minimum level of academic qualification:
If the candidate doesn’t have qualifications at this level they may still be able to qualify by submitting a Technical Report to demonstrate equivalent knowledge.
Beginning the journey to achieving Chartered Engineer status is usually done through a professional body such as the Engineering Council. If you are not already a member of a professional engineering institution your first step is to join the most appropriate governing body for your field, such as the ICE for Civil Engineers. The governing body will itself have minimum requirements for qualifications and technical knowledge so membership is a positive sign to employers in the first place, showing commitment to your career path. The Engineering Council has a handy Pocket Guide that explains the routes to achieving membership of the body.
Building a Portfolio
You will need to build a portfolio of evidence to show your knowledge and understanding is up to the level required for CEng. This is completed post-graduation in the workplace and consists of several stages:
Initial Professional Development
Usually started by aspiring Engineers on their first post-graduate job, Initial Professional Development (IPD) is often undertaken through accredited apprenticeship and graduate schemes, though it can be developed independently. IPD shows that your skills and understanding meet the standards required for professional registration and usually takes 4 – 6 years to complete. Progress towards achieving technical competence must be recorded and submitted to your professional body for review. Specifically, you will be required to demonstrate:
Professional ReviewThe candidate must submit the portfolio of evidence they have accumulated to their governing body. This portfolio should include demonstrations of the training and in-depth knowledge they have developed over their career in the form of a documented report demonstrating when you have shown the values required by your governing body. You will usually then be asked to attend an interview where you will have to go over your portfolio in-depth and demonstrate in person the knowledge and experience required to achieve chartered status.
No matter what industry you are in the route to achieving Chartered Engineer status can be long and arduous, but the end result is an internationally recognised title that employers recognise as the highest mark of technical competence.
For more guidance on how to become a chartered engineer call the James Gray team on 0141 404 3454 or leave a comment below.
Our MD Richard has revealed this week that he will be participating in the “Brave the Shave” fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support.
On Friday July 6th Richard will be shaving his head in honour of all the nurses who offer fantastic support and the friends, family and individuals suffering from the devastating effects of cancer.
James Gray Recruitment are proud to support MacMillan and thank everyone who has donated so far.
If you would like to donate, please follow this link to the fundraising page to do so:
Career changes can be daunting, and they’re almost a necessity these days.
You may struggle to understand salary scales, development paths, the differences between companies, and the varying cultures of organisations. Yes, salary is a factor for many, but what else makes up the DNA of the right company for you?
James Gray Recruitment believes that you are more than a candidate… and we are more than recruiters. As impartial, dedicated and trusted advisors in the construction and engineering sector, we start with what’s right for YOU.
We’ll be with you every step of the way in your career search, and then even further than that. Our bespoke service is about attraction, retention and development of talent. Finding people isn’t a problem for us, anyone can do that. We don’t just send CVs out. We guide you through the recruitment process. We ask the right questions of both our clients and candidates to make sure they know what’s right for them. Your application will go straight to one of our qualified personal recruiters, who is screening and meeting candidates for the client. We will review your application, and put just a handful of applicants forward, giving you a much better opportunity to prove yourself. You will also be one of the first people reviewed for similar roles before they’re even posted. If you are selected for an interview, our recruiters can give you preparation tips on everything from the interviewer’s personality to common interests you may have to build rapport. We’re not aiming to move as many people from A to B as quickly as possible, we want to identify and place the best candidates we can find. As specialists in construction and engineering our focus is on recruiting for a number of key sectors:
Within these sectors we recruit for all disciplines in the business on both a permanent, fixed term and temporary contract basis. As part of our service we offer contingent recruitment services as well as search and selection solutions for more senior and strategic roles. By concentrating on these specialised sectors and roles our consultants ensure a thorough understanding of the skills, personality and experience necessary to fill each role with the best people for the role.
James Gray Recruitment are corporate members of APSCo, and all our staff are fully trained and updated on relevant legislation. We’re ahead of the technology game too, with video interviewing platforms for our candidates. Video interviewing can give you an edge over your competition by removing travel barriers, and speed up the whole process.
We were founded in March 2006 by owner Richard Samuels. Richard wanted to move away from the numbers led recruitment process with its one size fits all approach, and towards a recruitment firm that was all about personal relationships.
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