Laing O'Rourkes' push to offer children the chance to study towards a GCSE and A' Level in Construction should be applauded. The question remains, however, as to what else needs to be done by the building product and construction sector to make it an attractive proposition for school leavers and graduates alike.
Never has this been such a burning issue. Skill shortages are at a all time high and are likely to get worse with foreign, skilled workers being turned away.
My recent commentary from seminars attended at the UK Construction week (link below) highlight where the problems lie and what can be done. In short, companies need to make their employer branding compelling, not only to children, but to the parents who are likely to deter their children into the sector.
More still needs to be done by companies to take full advantage of the apprenticeship levy. I met with a (genuine) leading manufacturer within building products yesterday who amazed me at how much they are putting into apprentice investment. Is your company doing the same or can more be done?
Laing O’Rourke is calling for the introduction of construction GCSEs and A-levels in a bid to solve the industry’s skills crisis. The suggestion is part of a ten-point plan put forward by the contractor in a report launched today. O’Rourke wants to see the introduction of GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC). Schoolchildren can currently learn DEC as part of the curriculum but the existing qualifications are not recognised by many universities. And only 42 schools out of a possible 3,401 state-funded secondary schools in England offer the DEC curriculum.