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Auf Wiedersehen, Brickie: Britain's 98bn Skills Deficit

Bogdanhoda / 622800884 / istock
  • Only 1% of 16-17 year olds studied a T-level in 2022
  • UK set to lose out on £98 billion by 2030 because of an anticipated shortage of 250,000 tradespeople 
  • Clive Holland, broadcaster of Fix Radio, comments on the impact the skills deficit is having on the future of Britain's construction industry

Figures from the Department of Education (DoE) reveal that just one percent of 16-17 year olds studied for a T-level qualification in 2022. Positioned as the Government's vocational alternative to the A-level, the data represents the latest round of troubling stats to illustrate the extent of Britain's skills deficit crisis. Construction expert and broadcaster on Fix Radio - the UK's only national radio station dedicated to builders and the trades - Clive Holland, argues that widespread neglect shown towards construction has sparked a litany of crises that risk the survival of the industry.

The shrinking pool of skilled tradespeople is a growing challenge for the UK construction industry, with Britain set to miss out on £98 billion of economic growth by 2030 due to an anticipated shortage of 250,000 tradespeople. Currently, the construction industry needs an extra 225,000 workers by 2027 to keep up with current demand, before accounting for the pledged 1.5 million homes a Labour government will build should they win the next general election.

The ageing population of tradespeople further exacerbates the state of the nation's skills deficit, with one fifth of the construction workforce now over the age of 50, and a further third of the industry looking to leave the sector by 2030. The number of apprenticeships to bolster the workforce is also in decline, as data from the DoE showing that the number of completed courses in England fell from 12,420 in 2018 to 7,700 in 2022, limiting the much-needed extra recruits for the construction sector. Highlighting the significance of the issue in a microcosm, each year 17,500 people apply for apprenticeships as an electrician, yet only 2,500 pass their courses annually, and an additionally 8,000 electricians leaving the industry every year.

Clive Holland, host of The Clive Holland Show on Fix Radio, shares his thoughts on how the skills deficit has affected the construction sector:

“The UK construction sector is facing a huge skills deficit – experienced tradespeople left the sector in droves during the pandemic and efforts to recruit young people into the trades are failing.

"According to government figures the number young people entering apprenticeships has fell by nearly 10% in the last year and the Construction Products Association estimated that over 220,000 workers have left the industry since the summer of 2019. The shortage of skills will make the building more expensive – last year saw 6% wage inflation.

"The construction industry is failing to address this growing problem. There needs to be a long-term strategy where construction firms and trade bodies work closely with the education sector and government agencies to achieve shared goals."

About Fix Radio

Fix Radio, the Builders Station is the home of entertainment, music and information for UK tradespeople.

Since 2017 the station has been built from the ground-up with tradespeople in mind, providing a mixture of authentic trade voices, up-beat music and a schedule designed around the tradesperson’s day.

The station’s schedule includes some of the biggest talent in the industry, including social media influencers the Bald Builders, Clive Holland of the BBC and formerly Cowboy Trap, the country’s most famous plasterer Chris Frediani from DIY SOS, plumbing influencer Andy Cam, electrician turned YouTuber Thomas Nagy, carpenter, craftsman and social media influencer Robin Clevett and TV presenter and builder, Mark Millar.

Broadcasting nationally on DAB since May 2022, Fix Radio has an average reach of 451,635 tradespeople each week. The Builders Station also boasts 26.9 average weekly listening hours. Fix Radio’s audience reach and listening hours are audited by Nielsen.

Source : Fix Radio

Image : Bogdanhoda / 622800884 / istock

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20 June 2024

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