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CIOB survey shows lack of BIM and green skills

10 May 2013

Insufficient skills in BIM and green construction could hold back the industry’s growth, according to findings in the latest skills survey from the CIOB.

The Institute’s 2013 skills audit revealed that, of the 1,346 respondents, most of whom are CIOB members, 82% believe there is a skill shortage in the construction industry, a 5% increase on the previous survey, published in 2011.

With the government due to mandate Level 2 BIM on all publicly procured projects by 2016, a significant 59% of respondents said the workforce does not have the skills needed to work with BIM, while 78% identified BIM training as a core issue.

Meanwhile, a total 44% of respondents said the construction workforce lacks the right skills to take forward the Green Deal and 66% identified a need for training to build a green-focused workforce.

Michael Brown, deputy chief executive at the CIOB, commented: “Initiatives and schemes such as BIM and the Green Deal are fast gaining traction within the industry. With the government mandating Level 2 BIM as a minimum by 2016 companies risk being left behind unless they invest in training in order to join this movement.”

Respondents blamed the industry’s overall skills shortage on the scarcity of high-quality training and investment from both government and industry, with trade and technical skills considered the highest in demand.

The survey found that efforts to build a sustainable workforce are being held back by a lack of firms recruiting apprentices. Although 90% of respondents said they believe apprentices are key to filling skill gaps, just 51% said they were actively recruiting apprentices.

On a more positive note, the research found that 72% of apprentices are being offered permanent employment within their organisations beyond completion of their apprenticeship.

Brown added: “It is encouraging that there are still a number of construction companies taking on apprentices, particularly when many are suffering with reduced margins and workloads. Moreover, it is positive to see the construction industry delivering long-term apprenticeship training, with many being offered further opportunities to build upon these skills.”

A total of 53% respondents said their organisation had made redundancies in the past 12 months, while 41% expect the construction workforce to decrease during 2013-2014, as opposed to 18% who expect an increase. Half of respondents said they do not expect a major change in demand for skills during 2013-2014, citing a lack of available work and the recession as key reasons.

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