The government has launched an action plan to increase employment in construction after finding that the sector has shed around 10,000 jobs since last summer.
The plan estimates that 50,831 workers will have to be recruited to managerial, professional, skilled and semi-skill professions within construction by 2030 to meet government targets on housing and domestic retrofitting.
It also estimates a present shortfall of 4,483 professionals despite concerted efforts to increase housebuilding and alleviate the housing crisis, with employment having slipped from 171,000 in Q3 2022 to 150,900 in the first quarter of this year.
A working group established by the Department of Further and Higher Education has set out 20 actions to stimulate training and employment in construction relating to the removal of structural barriers, training, upskilling, and promotion of the sector.
Proposals include modules aimed at Transition Year students, additional student work placements, new courses in construction skills, and gender-inclusive recruitment policies as well as mentoring programmes for female employees, who make up less than 10% of the construction workforce.
The group also suggested ideas for promotion of the sector regional open events for underrepresented and minority groups, the production of a documentary on working in the industry, working with influencers, and a national marketing campaign.
“The research underpinning the Careers in Construction Action Plan has identified the key barriers to careers in the sector. We have developed actions with the aim of minimising these barriers and promoting career opportunities,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris.
“These actions involved fundamental changes to our education sector’s skills offering, and include steps to tackling the gender bias in the sector.
“Careers in construction are so varied now, involving everything from off-site manufacturing, planning and design, to all of the on-site roles. There really is something for everyone and I would urge people to take fresh look at these opportunities.”