Businesses suffer due to increasing skill shortages

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Two thirds of building firms in the region are being forced to turn down new work because they can't fill vacancies.

A report by the Federation of Master Builders also found that young people feel pressured to stay in full time education.

In the West Midlands, 50% of building firms say the shortage of skills are negatively impacting on their business, while in the East Midlands this figures drops slightly to 33%.

Derby builder Ian Hodgkinson, who says his firm could increase turnover by 25% with a full workforce, airs his worries about what the future holds for the building industry and the importance of encouraging young people into the role of bricklaying.

The Federation of Master Builders claim that young people in the region are not going into trade because of the pressure to stay in full time education.

The report shows that two thirds of small building firms have to turn down new work because they can't find vacancies, while almost half have been forced to call in third parties rather than leave work unfinished.

It says that the biggest skills shortages are for bricklayers, carpenters, joiners and plasterers.

Almost half believe that young people are not going into the construction industry because of pressure to stay in full time education.

This emphasis on our skill shortage comes in line with the publication of GCSE and A Level results for school pupils across the UK.

According to Government Initiatives, A-LEVEL students in Birmingham scored the best results ever recorded in 2011, with nearly all candidates achieving at least one pass and this performance has only continued to rise.

Despite these results, several crucial industries, such as building and plumbing, are experiencing a lack of interest from potential future workers.

The Federation of Master Builders believe that students are avoiding entering the industry as they are under the belief that it offers low prospects with unattractive wages.

However, according to the report, bricklayers can easily earn more than £50,000 per year.

  • 53% believe young people are not going into the trades because of difficulty in finding suitable apprentices

  • 44% believe young people are not going into the trades because of the pressure to stay in full time education

  • 30% believe young people are not going into the trades because of a stigma around trades

  • 25% believe young people are not going into the trades because of wages

Bricklayers can easily earn more than £50,000 per year. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Experts estimate the industry needs around 35,000 new apprentices just the accommodate the demand for work. However, in 2013, only around 7000 apprentices completed their training which could have negative effects for the British economy.