Construction industry ‘must attract more A-Level students’.

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CONSTRUCTION firms in the North West must develop more training-based employment programmes for young people if they are to attract the brightest A-level achievers – and help alleviate the skills epidemic in the industry, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

It has been predicted that the UK construction industry will create around 190,000 new jobs by the end of 2018 .

But there is a growing fear that there will not be the talent to fill them. Victoria Hampson, RICS Regional Director, North & Midlands said: “We have to make it easier for young people to find an appropriate route into the industry, whether that is through apprenticeships or degree-level qualifications.”

She adds: “Our research shows that if the skills epidemic doesn’t improve in the next three years, 27,000 planned buildings are at risk of not being built.

“If we’re to overcome this, we need to reduce the dropout rate from apprenticeships and other training courses by better linking them to the nature of the jobs that are likely to be available, along with relevant qualifications.”

RICS – which sets standards in the land, property and construction sectors – is working with a number of North West firms, including BAM Construct, CBRE, Carillion, DTZ and Balfour Beatty, to develop a range of Trailblazer apprenticeships which will see apprentices – upon successful completion - gain vocational and academic qualifications.

Sweett Group – a Liverpool and Manchester based professional services provider for the construction and management of building and infrastructure projects – has won awards for its quantity surveying apprenticeship scheme which has brought a young and diverse group of individuals into the business.

James Grinnell, Group HR Director, at Sweett Group said: “Our quantity surveying apprenticeship programme enables us to work with local colleges and promote our industry to young people from all backgrounds.

“We currently have 25 apprentices, with a recruitment strategy aimed at accurately reflecting the diversity of the areas in which we operate.”