WorldSkills UK has brought together leading construction firms and organisations in education to produce a five-point plan to address how new technologies are transforming the sector, and how the skillset of future recruits can be developed to meet the changing needs of employers.      

The report titled, “The Future of Construction is Manufacturing”, features the outcomes and agreed action points from a WorldSkills UK Roundtable discussion held in London this month (June 2018).  Organisations in attendance included: BAM Nuttall, CITB, Morrisroe, Mace, Merlin Entertainments, Morgan Sindall Group, Kier, Dudley College, Youth Employment UK and the Department for Education.

Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said:  “We are a partnership between the education sector, governments across the UK and businesses and we are convening all of our partners to think about the future in the context of Brexit.

“Construction is at the very forefront of the economy – and will determine how the nation copes following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. 

“The construction industry is being required to cope with rapidly developing technological change – that is altering the face of construction faster than anyone can remember.  These recommendations highlighted in the report look at how we are going to engage young people in making sure they are ready for the new jobs that will be created.”

The recommendations stated in the report include:

  • Maintaining a twin track approach to skills – identifying the job requirements of the future that develop with new technology whilst continuing to attract sufficient numbers in to traditional trades. Upskilling will continue to play a major role.
  • Taking an ‘innovation leap of faith’ – with an ongoing conversation between the industry and education as to future needs. This dialogue is vital to future proofing the industry.
  • Taking a ‘longer term perspective’ – there is a leadership role for FE in mapping out the vision of the value of technical education and attracting inward investment to maintain competitiveness.
  • ‘Attract more people by translating the industry better’ – crafting new descriptive ways to define the fast-changing industry which requires scientific, numerical and artistic transferable skills.
  • ‘Schools engagement’ – in a more embedded and systematic way – all projects are delivered in locations with multiple schools which should be involved in some way. 

Colin Evison, Head of Innovation, BAM Nuttall said:  “The construction industry still struggles to attract significant quality and quantity of young people because it still suffers from a mucky boots image.  It is not seen as a high tech industry which it increasingly is.  This is why the recommendations of this report are so important.  I believe the points raised are key to making the change the industry needs and I look forward to being part of that change.”

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