The Irish Construction Industry continues in recovery mode and there is currently a strong demand for skills across the trades and professions. The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) recently commissioned DKM to produce a report, titled “Demand for Skills in Construction to 2020” the report warns of the skills shortages and the challenges the industry will face.
DKM Director, Annette Hughes, who authored the report stated: “The construction industry has been through an unprecedented period in its history – with the volume of construction output contracting by almost two-thirds between 2007 and 2012. It lost almost a quarter of firms in the industry in the six years to 2014. Although the industry has been recovery since early 2013, it needs to catch up with an economy that has expanded strongly.
In 2015 the value of turnover in the construction industry was around €13 billion, representing 6.2 per cent of economic activity (GNP), down from almost one-quarter of the economy at the height of the last boom. There were 136,900 persons directly employed in Q2 2016, 6.8 per cent of the total employed workforce.
The severity of the construction recession saw the numbers working in construction decline by almost 180,000 by Q1 2013 to just 35 per cent of the numbers employed at the peak (2007).
The industry is concerned that as activity ramps up quickly there will be a lag in the necessary skilled workers in the labour market and amongst those coming out of full-time education and training to meet the demand over the medium-term.”
The industry now faces many skills demands in the coming years with increased activity due to Rebuilding Ireland, the Public Capital Programme, and commercial construction and the demand for BIM, Lean, and Green construction practices. The DKM report gives recommendations that Government and industry should collaborate to improve skills capacity in the industry so to deliver the demands placed on it over the medium-term.
The recommendations include establishing a Construction Skills Forum to monitor progress and address barriers in the education and training system; improve the industry image; deliver an international recruitment drive to target the Irish Diaspora; refine apprenticeships and develop innovative methods of apprenticeship; engage with SOLAS and the Education and Training Board (ETB) network to deliver skills courses nationally that can take people with construction skills off the Live Register; deliver to a wider range of management functions within construction companies; refocus CIF Training and its Construction SME Skillnet on driving modern building techniques, and green skills.
Within the past few years, the vast expansion of the Construction Project Management sector has allowed the area to grow substantially and allow for a wide range of career opportunities. The increasing demand for construction project managers has been dramatic and beneficial to those with the right qualifications.
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