CIOB calls for apprenticeship overhaul amid subdued growth
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has called on the government to overhaul the UK apprenticeship system to bolster growth in the construction sector.
The comments, from CIOB chief executive Caroline Gumble, came as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that in the three months to July this year, growth in construction was negative (0.8%) due to the fall in demand for private housing repair and maintenance and “public other new work”.
Meanwhile, new orders in the second quarter (April to June) 2019 fell by 13.3%, reversing the increase of 10.4% in the first quarter (January to March). This was driven by a 17% decline in all other work – all sectors apart from infrastructure experienced a decrease in comparison with Q1 2019.
The CIOB said that with a slowdown in the economy and businesses halting investment due to the economic uncertainties, it was no surprise that construction output contracted over the past three months.
It urged the government take steps to ensure the construction industry remains strong during uncertain times and to inject the industry with support for trained professionals in order to maintain and grow the built environment.
Caroline Gumble, chief executive at the CIOB, said: “Construction contributes 6% to the UK’s GDP and the industry needs to improve its collaboration with government to deliver. A priority that remains for the industry is access to skilled staff which would allow the industry to innovate and be more productive. However, the current apprenticeship system is flawed and hinders businesses within the sector to hire and develop new talent. It is vital for the government to address this issue if we want to see a boost in the UK’s economy and ensure that we do not fall into a recession.
“Another way to support the industry is through focused investment on housing repair and maintenance; this would offer a stable pipeline of activity for the industry, as well as an opportunity to improve the quality of our homes.”