Union calls for ‘radical action’ to address skills shortages

THE Unite union has claimed the construction industry is in ‘denial’ over skills shortages.

The union has renewed its calls for ‘radical action’ in the wake of the publication of the CITB’s annual skills report, which predicted the UK sector will need an extra 158,000 workers in the next five years.

Unite said that despite the expected need for new recruits, construction has ‘failed to recruit sufficient numbers of apprentices for decades’.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary said, “The industry remains in denial about apprentices with everyone thinking it is someone else’s responsibility to train the workers’ of tomorrow. The challenges facing the future of the industry are continually mounting and Brexit will mean that the quick fix of recruiting skilled labour from aboard will no longer be easily available.

“As the industry can’t be trusted to resolve the apprenticeship recruitment crisis, it becomes the responsibility of government and clients to make the recruitment of apprentices a key requirement on all contracts.

“Unite has been a key broker in ensuring there are apprenticeship recruitment targets on major projects such as Hinckley Point. This model needs to be rolled out across the industry.”