Skills shortage threaten Weston development progress

Gary Higgins (left) and Ben Milsom of GBRS Recruitment say Weston is facing a construction skills sh

Gary Higgins (left) and Ben Milsom of GBRS Recruitment say Weston is facing a construction skills shortage. - Credit: Archant

KEY Weston developments risk being delayed or damaged by a skills shortage in the construction trade, industry figures have warned.

Experts Ben Milsom of Weston-based GBRS Recruitment, Tim Stringer of Integral Building, and Gemma Day, director of Dowlas, the firm behind Weston Gateway Business Park (WGBP), agree a skills crisis is looming.

They say that, following an uplift in the construction sector, many more jobs will be created – but finding people to fill them is a challenge.

Mr Milsom said: “Generally we have found that young people don’t place as much value on a career in construction, as maybe they should.

“Certainly for many it’s seen as a seasonal or in-between job but the industry has huge growth and earning potential.”


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Mr Stringer agreed, saying the lack of young people who are ‘excited’ by the industry is a key problem.

He said: “Integral Build has certainly found sourcing key trades, specifically traditional ones such as plastering and bricklaying, more difficult over the past year or so.

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“It does seems to me that the average age of the tradesmen is gradually getting older and this is a major concern for the future. Is it that young people are not excited about these trades?

“I would guess this is the case and the industry as a whole needs to look at itself very carefully to work out the best way to encourage school children and young adults – both male and female – that this is a great industry to be a part of.”

Encouraging young people to rethink their atitudes towards construction careers is vital, according to Ms Day.

WGBP already houses Knightstone Housing’s new HQ, with office and hotel developments planned – so more construction jobs will be created.

She said: “We are experiencing lots of enquiries at our site. As things continue to pick up I am starting to see a strain on skills which is a concern.

“What can we do? There is no magic bullet but engaging students at a younger age is one way.”

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