Construction workers at risk

Lack of adequate training for construction workers and the building industry’s failure to attract skilled craftspeople means major building projects may have to be put on hold.

Training watchdog the Adult Learning Inspectorate has found that the standard of training offered to new entrants to the industry has fallen to the point where construction contracts planned over the next decade for the health, education, transport and heritage sectors could be delayed.

In a survey of training methods in the industry, it found that only one third of construction trainees complete their apprenticeships and that 40% of companies that provide training to the sector are “inadequate.” 

Most worryingly, it found that employers in the sector tend not to consider training to be part of their role, and only a quarter of companies do any apprenticeship training at all.

“During the 1970s 100,000 people were being trained every year across the range of construction skills need – carpentry, plastering glazing, plumbing and so on,” said Nicky Perry, director at the ALI.

“Last year, however, fewer than 40,000 entered the industry and only 34% of them finished their training. The industry is squandering its own future by not facing up to the critical problems endemic in its training methods today.”

Turnover in the UK construction industry is currently at £140bn and it employs two million people – 14% of the total workforce.

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