Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to help the construction industry overcome its chronic skills shortage by overhauling its poor public image.

general election constructionThe call comes from the Chartered Institute of Building, which represents construction management professionals who work within the built environment, following the Conservative Party’s surprise victory in the general election.

CIOB policy and public affairs manager Eddie Tuttle says: “The quality of the built environment affects every aspect of society. This presents the industry with a number of challenges, and a number of opportunities to deliver long lasting change.

“Here in the UK, the construction industry officially accounts for around 6.3% of GDP and 10% of total employment, although we believe these figures under-represent the true reach of the industry.

“With a shrinking skills base, the sector is facing a number of challenges – not least the challenge to deliver more homes and infrastructure.”

Boosting the construction workforce and addressing the skills shortage through greater support for apprenticeships, training and mentoring schemes is crucial, the CIOB insists.  

However, Tuttle warns that “whilst pledges that detail a commitment to the number of apprenticeships and graduates represent a significant shift in the right direction – and will undoubtedly help the industry with its response to the current skills shortage – there is a pressing need to change the image of the construction industry in order to attract the best, and the most skilled individuals.  

Tuttle adds: “The industry needs strong leadership and greater recognition of its strategic importance. By establishing a close dialogue with industry professionals, the next government has the potential to raise the profile of construction and alter the public perception of a career in construction.”

He warns the Conservative Party leader: “The success of the next government will be measured by its ability to deliver on its pledges and work with the construction industry to deliver real, long lasting change.”

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