The construction industry is developing a massive skills deficit, according to the Construction Industry Training Board.
The Board said that almost 400,000 builders lost their jobs during the recession, discouraging young people from taking up construction as a career.
The latest figures from the Further Education data library show that the number of apprenticeship starts in construction fell from 13,920 in 2011/12 to 13,730 in 2012/13.
The supply of apprenticeships is also a problem. Research conducted by City & Guilds in November 2013 showed that more than 50% of construction businesses in the UK had no plans to take on apprentices in the coming year.
Two thirds of the businesses surveyed said they didn’t employ any apprentices at all, and 61% said they had not even offered work experience in the previous 12 months.
The resulting lack of supply in skilled tradespeople has allowed subcontractors to ramp up their hourly rates, further harming the industry.
Steve Radley, policy director at the CITB, told The Guardian:
“There’s a serious and developing skills shortage, and the industry has come out of one of the most serious downturns it has seen for a century.”
“The swing from bust to boom has been stronger than elsewhere, and the industry has not traditionally planned ahead well.”
Image by Pedro Moura Pinheiro