"UK construction industry needs to focus on recruiting people with the right social skills”, argues expert

Nick Morton

Not only does the UK’s construction industry need 36,000 new recruits each year to cope with increased demand, the sector also needs to focus on recruiting people with the right softer social skills, a leading Birmingham City University academic said.

With three-quarters of British businesses expecting a significant skills crisis to hit the UK within the next three years and the UK’s biggest construction company, Balfour Beatty, struggling to fill certain roles, Professor Nick Morton, Head of Birmingham City University’s School of the Built Environment, highlighted the importance of getting the right people into the industry.

"The construction sector needs problem solvers with the necessary soft skills to enable them to develop the talents of others and to recognise their own strengths for future opportunities", said Professor Morton.

"Recent research conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) indicates that the construction industry is disadvantaged by a low level of understanding amongst teachers and careers advisors of the varied roles and progression opportunities leading to a successful career in construction," Professor Morton said.

The CITB reported earlier this year that the construction industry needs to attract over 36,000 new recruits every year for the next five years to meet the increased demand for skills by replacing those leaving the sector. Balfour Beatty revealed earlier this month that it was struggling to recruit sufficient numbers of graduate civil engineers, quantity surveyors and a host of other trained professionals. 

"Ensuring the next generation of construction talent are nurtured in the right way is so vital. At Birmingham City University our students have the opportunity to gain direct experience of both construction and people skills on built environment projects across the UK," added Professor Morton.

A new initiative between Birmingham City University and Mott MacDonald Ltd commences next month, aimed at addressing the shortage of problem-solving skills in the construction industry that are preventing professionals from advancing within their careers. 

Students at Birmingham City University's School of the Built Environment will study courses featuring a dedicated focus on the skills that construction professionals need to enable them to develop the talents of others and to recognise their own strengths for future opportunities.

Find out more information on construction and environment courses at Birmingham City University by calling +44 (0)121 331 6777.

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