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Last updated: 07.05.15

Scotland's construction sector facing skills shortage

The housing shortfall in Scotland continues to loom as the construction industry faces a lack of skilled workers.

In particular, the sector has seen a shortage of joiners, carpenters, site managers and plumbers, with small and medium-sized businesses struggling to attract the necessary candidates - according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

A report published by Audit Scotland in 2013 forecasted that the number of households north of the Scottish border would rise by 500,000 to 2.9 million by 2035, meaning 21,230 additional homes would be needed each year.

However, recent government figures show that just 15,436 new homes were built in the year to September 2014 - 40 per cent lower than ten years earlier.

The off-target statistics highlight the shortage of trained construction workers and point to upward pressure on wages.

Gordon Nelson, Scottish director of the FMB, said: "It's clear that the Scottish construction sector needs to re-focus its efforts on attracting new entrants. We need to target experienced workers such as ex-military personnel and also the next generation of construction apprentices."

Skills Development Scotland has recently launched a three-month plan to address the issues faced by the construction industry.

A spokesperson said this "aims to attract future talent to the industry, improve the skills of the existing workforce, modernise training programmes and provide the skills needed for future growth".

This is hoped to boost competitiveness and ensure employers have access to an abundance of core construction skills.

It is expected that by 2020, the sector will create 3,000 new apprentices each year.

Virtual College's Construction Services E-Academy specialises in the development of construction training to help workers maintain and develop their skills. For more information, please visit: http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/e-academies/Construction.aspx

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