We’ve all heard about the skills crisis and how it effects the industry. We’ve had the introduction of government backed schemes with over £1 billion invested, the establishment of apprenticeship programs in larger companies and now we await the apprenticeship levy to take effect. All of which are important for a booming industry that contributes almost £90 billion annually to the UK economy. However, none of these directly help ease the pressure of an increased workload for SME’s.
So how do we tackle the skills crisis head on without the funding or brand strength of a large, well-known company? More than ever before there’s an increased importance in strong company culture. The future of our workforce lies with the noughties and millennials, who by contrast to previous generations, grew up in a time of financial prosperity and rapid technological advancements. A career for these generations is much more then looking for stability; it’s about community, professional development and most importantly enjoyment. The most important advocates for the industry are those who are already part of it.
We are social animals, heightened even more so by the introduction of instant messaging services and social media platforms. Even during the flu season, when comfort is found only in a darkened room and endless supplies of hot drinks, we are still connected. Creating a sense of community can be comforting and as we all know, the happiest customer can be a huge asset for business growth.
In an industry as vast as construction, with an emphasis on the need for skills, opportunities for professional development are plentiful. Investing time and resources into passing on industry knowledge and upskilling can be far more beneficial to an employee than an apprenticeship program.
Changing the perception of the industry workforce to more than just skilled labourers is important. The general perception of construction amongst the younger generations is of being outdoors and getting dirty. However, once in the industry, employees are often immersed into the excitement of the diverse projects shaping the communities and cities that we live in. Creating a company culture that addresses the characteristics above will help produce insightful industry advocates.