This week, a Skills Drive digger, along with members of S4B and CITB , arrived at St Peter’s RC High School to talk to youngsters about the career options available to them in the UK’s construction industry.  

CITB  teamed up with iconic construction machinery firm JCB to launch the Construction4Growth Skills Drive across England and Wales, to encourage a new generation of talented youngsters to explore career options in the sector.

The urgent need for new talent is further highlighted by ONS figures which show that 20% of construction workers in the North West – over 43,910 people – are due to retire in the next decade.

Steve Housden, CITB Sector Strategy Manager for the North West, said: “Our report clearly shows that more needs to be done to address construction’s skills ‘time bomb’, to safeguard jobs and ensure that growth is possible for contractors in the Manchester area. Now is the time to start sparking the imagination of young people and harnessing their talent for the future of the industry – any delay now could be putting the industry’s growth on hold.

“It is for this very reason that CITB has been hitting the roads and visiting schools like St Peter’s RC High School with its Construction4Growth Skills Drive, to support the industry in recruiting more young people. We need to show that construction is a high-tech, world class industry with outstanding career prospects.”  

The study, conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) shows that 38% of construction contractors in Manchester are struggling to recruit young workers with the right skills. In fact the wider North West* picture looks even more alarming, with as many as 6,494 construction jobs under threat if insufficient talent causes firms to go under.

In addition, 22% of employers said that a lack of skills was stopping their business from growing, with a further 13% stating that they had had to source the relevant skills from elsewhere at a substantial cost to their business. 

Further results from CITB’s research found that 69% of employers in Manchester felt that they should be incentivised more to take on youngsters as part of their workforce. In addition, a further 50% said that more careers advice was needed to inform young people of the opportunities available to them in the sector.

View more pictures from the event