Insight Issue 25

Minding the Gap

Last year the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported that the UK is facing the largest skills gap since 1998. This issue of INSIGHT focuses on how the roofing industry is rising to the challenge and how everyone is playing their part.

It’s no secret that the UK is experiencing a skills shortage in the aftermath of the financial crash in 2007/8. Three times as many people are leaving the industry each year as are joining it, with around 300,000 builders and tradesmen finding work elsewhere or retiring in the last five years.

The skills gap that this is creating means many of us are either having to turn projects down or use unskilled labour to finish the job. And with our apprenticeships competing against other industries to recruit trainees, we are having to work harder than ever to find the new recruits needed.

However, where there’s a will there’s a way and this challenge means there is a huge opportunity for us all! The industry’s commitment and the investments being made in training and apprenticeships, coupled with the technological innovations from manufacturers, mean we can be optimistic about the future.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
As an industry it’s vital we balance the level of skilled workers available with increasing demand. This is certainly the case if we are to meet the ambitious targets laid out in the Government’s Construction 2025 scheme. It aims to reduce costs by 33% and project delivery times by 50% – while at the same time increasing output significantly.

These would be challenging objectives even with an excess number of skilled workers at our disposal. However, roofing is rising to that challenge with a high number of exciting initiatives, product developments and people across the industry working together.

One such example is the announcement that the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has over £7.5 million in targeted project funding available to address the construction industry’s critical skills needs. Over £2.5 million of this will be used to develop an online learning centre, which expects over 4,000 employees from construction firms to build the skills shortage.

Another of the funded projects aims to equip those working within roofing with recognised training and qualifications and to ensure that they hold the relevant CSCS card – with the funding benefitting hundreds of individual firms and workers.

Other examples of the massive investment taking place to train the next generation of roofers include initiatives from the Kingspan and SIG Roofing Academies, Russell’s Roofing School and the training manufacturers are providing as part of the Building Competency Programme. All are designed to raise standards and ensure we have the necessary skills to keep the industry healthy.


TECHNOLOGY ALSO HAS A PART TO PLAY

Simple to use, fit for purpose products are working smarter and harder to deliver on their promise, without the need for lengthy training.

However, plugging the skills gap is not all about new initiatives and products. The biggest and most useful asset at our disposal is something we already have – namely the depth of experience contractors have from years on the job and the impact that can have. Passing that knowledge on to the next generation is a vital part of ensuring we have the necessary expertise in the years to come.

Ultimately, the challenge facing the industry today can only be resolved through people, products and providers working together. Read on to find out how roofing is putting its collective thinking cap on and getting smarter about filling the skills gap.

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IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Velux Certified Installers can now apply for TrustMark status
  • Find out why you can rely on SR Timber’s golden advice
  • Marley Alutec’s easy-to-use materials enable quicker installation with a high-end finish
  • CITB & the SIG Industrial Roofing Centre help new recruits with industrial roofing training
  • Hambleside’s easy-to fit products help overcome the skills shortage

COMPETITION WINNER
Congratulations to our reader John Brown of John Brown & Son Traditional Roofing who is our latest competition winner! John entered our INSIGHT magazine Issue 24 Sudoku competition to win a Durafix Driver. When we asked John what he thought of INSIGHT he told us:
“I did my college training back in 1973/74 and I think INSIGHT magazine is very informative and the best way for me to keep up to date with the current news and the latest technology.”


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