Building After Brexit: An Action Plan For Industry Published

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Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E. info@burflex.co.uk

Building After Brexit: An Action Plan For Industry Published

Building After Brexit: An Action Plan For Industry Published

A pan-industry group has published Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry, a white paper that sets out the need for the construction industry to take a twin-track strategy that will involve working with government to see how access to migrant workers can be maintained, while growing investment in the domestic workforce and driving productivity up.

Recommendations include retaining the workforce by supporting older people to stay in the sector, offering improved mental health support and upskilling the existing workforce, as well as raising apprenticeship starts and completions, and developing a Future Skills Strategy to identify the skills needed to modernise the industry, boost investment in modern methods and furthering digitalisation.

Policy director at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Steve Radley noted that the latest predictions show that more than 168,000 new jobs will be established in the coming five years and given that a reduction in the availability of foreign workers after Brexit is likely, the construction sector needs to act now to prevent the skills gap from widening further.

Chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry made further comments, saying: “The single biggest issue keeping construction employers awake at night is the skills shortage.

“If we’re going to address this skills gap post-Brexit, the whole industry needs to step up and expand their training initiatives. Even sole traders can offer short term work experience placements and large companies should be aiming to ensure at least five per cent of their workforce are trainees or apprentices.”

The CITB’s annual Construction Skills Network report anticipates that construction growth of 1.3 per cent will be seen across the UK, down a third of a per cent on the year before, a forecast based on the scenario that the UK does have an exit deal in place with the EU when it leaves.

The biggest increase in growth is predicted to be seen in public housing, which is moving forward while infrastructure slows down. The latter is expected to grow by 1.9 per cent, down from the 3.1 per cent predicted in the forecast in 2018. Commercial construction, meanwhile, is declining significantly because investors are now being more cautious in their approach as the Brexit deadline nears.

That being said, the housing repair and maintenance sector seems to be doing well in the face of this quieter property market, with homeowners halting their plans to sell up and move on, choosing instead to do their current properties up. It’s expected that come the year 2023, the sector will have grown by 1.7 per cent.

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