Guest Blog: Neil Phillips from Electrical Courses Ltd

Recent reports have warned that the construction industry is facing one of the worst skills shortages in 20 years.

But the industry is booming?

Whilst there are plenty of signs that the construction industry is going from strength to strength in the UK, a survey carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) indicates that there is currently the worst skills shortage in the industry for the past 2 decades and this is putting an enormous strain on the sector.

Despite large labour shortages in areas such as East Anglia the survey also shows that there is an increase in growth in the region, with workloads increasing, especially in the private housing, commercial and industrial sectors. But unless the demand for skills is met the construction industry will stand no chance of meeting its full workload potential in the future.

Which trades are affected?

Electrical Contracting is one of the trades suffering most from this skill shortage. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has indicated that even though there was a large rise in qualified electricians in 2010 the numbers have since been dwindling and have returned to levels lower than before the recession.

Why is this happening?

There are a number of reasons this is happening and one of the biggest factors is an ageing demographic, with many electricians retiring without being replaced with the same amount of newly qualified electricians.

Another factor is the education system; people are simply choosing to undertake other careers in over-inflated sectors and for our growing population this is having a massive negative effect. In 2012 the Guardian reported that “Young people are being failed by the UK education system”, for example in 2011, 94,000 people completed hair and beauty courses despite there being just 18,000 new jobs, meaning there were 5 qualified people for each job.  Similarly, more than double the number of people were trained to work in hospitality, sport and leisure than there were jobs advertised.

In the same year 123,000 people were trained in construction trades, but there were 275,000 jobs advertised, that equates to two jobs for every 1 qualified person.

Can this be improved?

Yes it can, it will not happen overnight, but it will improve if more school students and also adults who are looking for a change in career, are made aware of the construction trades and how rewarding they are. Tradesmen such as Electricians are earning the same or more as some University graduates are, but with a much better chance of obtaining and achieving their career goals.

Neil Phillips

Managing Director

Electrical Courses Ltd