London and the South East are facing a major skills crisis in the construction industry - with the amount of skilled labourers nowhere near meeting the demand for work. A new report by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with KPMG, reveals that when it comes to projects between now and 2017, there is a gap of nearly 15,000 workers. Without more people- and more training- this situation is set to jeopardise house building and large infrastructure projects.
The industry has experienced great difficulties in recruiting enough skilled workers, for both professional roles and manual trades, to keep pace with new work. According to the report, a 51% increase in training provision would be required to meet demand for skilled labour between 2014 and 2017 to plug the gap.
255,000 workers are needed on site to deliver the 2015 pipeline of housing yet 400,000 of the workforce are expected to retire in the next 5-10 years. 20% more workers are required to meet the pipeline of around £96 billion of construction projects in 2014-17,
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI said:
"Our members have long spoken to us about their difficulties recruiting sufficiently skilled workers. The detailed findings of this report highlight just how grave skills shortages are in the construction sector, with significant deficits of capable workers across numerous trades and professions.
Richard Threlfall, KPMG UK Head of Infrastructure, Building and Construction said: "This report calls on the industry itself to wake up and take responsibility to increase levels of training dramatically. It also calls on Government and training providers to recognise that the industry is changing, with ever greater application of technology and a trend towards offsite manufacturing - the skills required in the industry tomorrow will be very different from the skills required today. And above all it calls on all in the industry to take steps to boost the image of the construction sector as an attractive career path for the next generation in our schools and colleges.