Skills shortage will hit UK builds, says report

The UK construction sector is facing a skills shortage, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The UK construction sector is facing a skills shortage, according to a report in the Financial Times. Industry forecasts predict that Britain will experience a building boom over the next five years, placing increased strain on the pool of skilled labour.

Construction output is expected to grow by 11% by 2011, led by a surge in schools construction, increased spending on transport and projects for the London Olympics. A US $9 billion (£4.7 billion) government programme to renew or rebuild every secondary school in the UK will be the largest single project.

And demand for labour is expected to intensify. According to ConstructionSkills, an organisation established by the government to ensure there are sufficient trained workers to meet demand, employment in the industry will need to rise by almost 17% to 2.8 million by 2011, compared with 2.4 million in 2005.

An estimated 87,600 new recruits will be needed by the industry each year between 2007 and 2011 in order to meet demand. The biggest need is expected to be for bricklayers, cladders and roofers.

A lack of skilled labour in recent years has attracted migrant worker from Eastern Europe. Unions have complained that unscrupulous contractors have jeopardised building standards and health and safety by using migrant workers to cut costs, paying low wages and avoiding national insurance and tax liabilities.

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