NI construction facing skills shortage

Published Thursday, 24 April 2014
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Northern Ireland's construction sector is facing a skills shortage as the region continues to recover from the recession.

NI construction facing skills shortage
Students are being urged to think about a career in construction. (© Getty)

The latest RICS Construction Market Survey has reported improved activity for three consecutive quarters.

However, it points to increasing shortages of chartered surveyors and other construction professionals.

Almost a third of Northern Ireland respondents are having difficulty sourcing skills across a range of construction disciplines.

Northern Ireland has an infrastructure deficit which will need to be dealt with in the years ahead, and we need the necessary skills available to do so.

Jim Sammon, RICS Northern Ireland

There are also concerns about labour shortages in Great Britain, with 41 per cent of respondents having difficulty sourcing skills across a range of disciplines.

RICS Northern Ireland construction spokesman, Jim Sammon, said that the latest survey shows that the workloads of chartered surveyors grew for a third quarter, and at an increased rate of growth.

"This is from low levels of activity after such a significant downturn, but this latest survey gives cause for optimism that the recovery is taking hold," he said.

"The other side of the story is that with activity increasing, evidence of skills shortages is emerging. We are also getting indications from local third-level education establishments that enrolment levels for construction-related courses are at low levels."

Mr Sammon continued: "With skills shortages emerging and the pipeline of professionals potentially hampered by fewer students enrolling on construction related courses, this gives us real cause for concern.

"Our message is that students shouldn't be put off studying chartered surveying and other construction disciplines because of challenges the sector has had in the past number of years. We hear from the local universities that employers are currently having difficulty recruiting because of the increasing demand and the lack of availability of students with the necessary skills. So there are real opportunities for students."

© UTV News
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13 Comments
Marty in Singapore wrote (92 days ago):
It's because our best and brightest are in the 4 corners of the world! I travel a lot with work and I always meet large numbers of Irish. Both here in Singapore and when I travel to Kuala Lumpur, Perth and Sydney. I had my biggest shock in Hong Kong, The young manager who checked me into my kowloon hotel was irish. I was staying over a weekend and was lucky enough to catch a local Gaelic match! Soo many young irish men and women working in construction, finance and medicine here in Asia, Australia / NZ... Anyone under 30 without a criminal record left at home?
bricklayer in belfast wrote (93 days ago):
Employers need to back the young people with paid jobs and give them a chance to succeed! There are dozens of young people every year disappointed because of lack of paid work. Training schemes are just a substitute for the dole.
Give up long time ago! in Co.Down wrote (94 days ago):
I grew up around Diggers with my father, I learned as much as I could of him. I tried very hard to get my digger test for track machiene and then work from there for experience, I kid you not the most expensive test you will do. and realistictly who would want give me it when I wasnt working for a company? £800 for whole lot to push levers. even if I did get test I wouldnt get a chance to build on from what I learned from my father who has driven for 33 years, and they complain about skill shortage!!!! in a few years there wont be any digger drivers when all the old guys are retired, there will be nobody to train the young guns like me, and health and saftey and insurance now that has made it impossible for young folk like myself. I am now in a career that I didnt want to do but know nothing else and will never be a digger driver now cause it just so ridicioulsy hard!!! so when they start training people correctly and giving people a chance then they can compain.
Mark in Toome wrote (95 days ago):
Mark in Toomebridge In construcion for 25 years !! Tradesmen becoming harder to find as anyone in buisness here knows wages are a joke . There must be changes soon or trades will dissapear
George in Bangor wrote (95 days ago):
This is a load of bull am a bricklayer from bangor and have had to give it up to work nights in a shop as no jobs about tell me were these jobs r and ill take one
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