The Irish Construction industry needs an additional 112,000 Construction Workers up to 2020, the UK needs an additional 35,740 across the industry up to 2021.
A skilled workforce is necessary to support the current growth in the European construction sector. More school leavers are currently choosing to enter the sector, with approximately 13,000 taking up apprenticeships in 2017. However, school leavers alone will not be enough to fulfil the appetite of a rapidly growing industry. There are several strategies needed to fill the gap.
- A structured process (BIM)
- Attract newcomers
- Increase diversity
BIM allows us to do more with less, spending less time doing repetitive tasks which can often be automated. This means that our time is spent adding real value to the projects we are involved with. This cannot be achieved without training, BIM and Digital Construction is constantly evolving and it is only by keeping up to date that we can achieve the biggest benefits. BIM allows visual sequencing and planning on projects which ensures that the right materials and tools are available at the right time. The new standard ISO19650; Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM) provides clarity about BIM in a global sense, by having guidance at an international level it allows for a greater understanding and transfer of skills across Europe and the world.
Attracting newcomers to the construction industry exacerbates the requirement for the provision of training. The work that the BIM Cert project is doing is vital to allow those who are either upskilling from within their current roles or wishing to transition from other industries to undertake training in a method that is flexible, achievable and valuable. It also provides a route for re-entry to the workplace, a relatively untapped resource.
The importance of the increase of diversity in Construction and the effect of this cannot be underestimated. To take an example, Women comprise 46% of the total workforce in the U.K. However, this figure drops to 12% of the total construction industry workforce, professionals make up 5% and 1% in skilled trades. This indicates a difference of 34% potential workers who may be available to the construction industry. By increasing these numbers, we should be able to support the level of workers needed. In my work with Women in BIM we have identified that attraction and retention are the main barriers to increasing those figures. The hope is that by increasing the visibility of women and minority groups in construction, we can help to resolve those issues, but it is also worth noting that without adequate training solutions it will be impossible to attract or retain people within the construction industry.
Louise Kelly, ACB Group, Global Vice Chair of Women in BIM