Thousands of workers needed to satisfy industry demand

Ian Hughes

MORE than 10,000 new workers will be required in the Scottish construction sector over the next five years to meet demand, new research has revealed.

Most sectors of the industry will experience growth during that period, according to a new forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), with housing leading the way.

The Construction Skills Network (CSN) report has tipped public housing to experience growth of 3.9% each year for the period from 2018-2022, while private housing is predicted to grow at 2.9%.

The CITB said expansion in housing is being driven by the Scottish Government’s target to build 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021. Repair and maintenance of existing buildings is also expected to grow, with a year on year average rise of 2.6%, and 1.7% for non-housing related work.

All sectors, with the exception of infrastructure, commercial and public non-housing, are expected to experience growth, with 10,650 new construction workers needed.

Construction output in Scotland is projected to be “stable”, at 0.1% average annual growth per year. The CITB said falls in infrastructure work will be “mitigated” by growth in other sectors.

A small drop in overall employment of 0.7% per year is expected over the forecast period, but an ageing workforce means thousands of new workers are needed. In particular there is a demand for trades supervisors, logistics and civil engineers.

Ian Hughes, partnership director at CITB Scotland said, “The forecast for Scottish construction sees a stable five years to 2022. It is encouraging to see strong growth for housing in particular.

“With over 10,000 new workers needed over the next five years, there remain excellent, rewarding career opportunities in construction. Our modern apprenticeship programme in Scotland continues to go from strength to strength, with over 5000 apprentices currently being trained.  We want to support firms in Scotland to take on more apprentices, to upskill their workforce, and to champion construction as a rewarding lifelong career.”

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