NI construction facing skills shortage

NI construction facing skills shortage

Northern Ireland's construction sector is facing a skills shortage as the region continues to recover from the recession.

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 IrelandThere 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."

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