A recent article published in the MEN indicated that a severe skills shortage within the construction industry could put a stop to the city’s growth.

And it’s not just Manchester that’s facing a problem – areas up and down the country haven’t got enough builders, joiners or project managers to meet future demands, or even complete current projects on time and to a high standard. If we don’t act now to reduce the skills gap, the issue will soon snowball into a crisis.

A significant part of the solution, although not all of the solution to the skills gap in construction, lies in apprenticeships.

Given that almost a third of construction workers are now over the age of 50, it’s vital that we do our bit to train fresh, young talent who will shape the future of the industry. By 2020, it’s hoped that there will be 25,000 construction apprenticeship starts – and here at the Growth Company, we’re committed to driving apprenticeship uptake within the sector.

The new apprenticeship standards encourage providers, apprentices and employers to commit to a real focus on knowledge, skills and behaviours development rather that the 'old school' holistic assessment approach. This allows employers to be involved in the progress and measurement of ‘off the job’ training and feedback to providers the effectiveness of their provision.

Our dedicated SkillCentre in Trafford Park is the ideal place for builders, joiners and plasterers to put their skills into practice and learn from industry experts. We make sure our apprentices get the knowledge and qualifications they need to succeed, and we support them every step of the way. We also work with some the biggest construction employers across Greater Manchester and beyond – including Cheshire Scaffolds, Jackson Jackson and Manchester Central.

And, it’s not just young people who can change the future of the construction industry: we also need to do more to encourage businesses to make the most of their apprenticeship Levy. The Levy is a powerful recruitment tool, and one which can be used to upskill project managers within construction.

Highly skilled PMs are integral to the success of any construction project – without them, costs spiral out of control, standards start to slip and builds aren’t completed on time. Our level 4 project management standard will provide existing construction project managers with the skills they need to be the best and progress in their career – and most importantly, set standards within the industry.

There’s no denying that testing times are ahead for the construction industry. But one thing is clear – the more that can be done to train and upskill talent, the more promising the future will look. We mustn’t forget how crucial the sector is for our economy, and particularly for the UK’s industrial strategy.

An issue is the perception of the construction industry as low level, blue collar labour for persons who failed at school. The world of construction has moved on considerably especially in the last generation. Technology is big part of the construction industry and the skills required are both manual and academic to survive and thrive in the world of construction.

Would you like more information on our construction apprenticeships? Maybe you’re an employer who’s interested in upskilling your project management team? If so, get in touch today and let’s achieve a strong workforce for tomorrow’s construction sector.