600,000 construction jobs likely to be lost to robots and virtual reality in new industrial revolution, says MACE report
Up to 600,000 construction jobs could be replaced by new technology over the next two decades.
Mace has produced a report in which it outlines what it believes will be the skills needed for what it refers to as Industry 4.0 – the collective term for a range of technologies like cloud computing, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and robotics and 3D printing.
The Mace report said that the industry will have to initiative and oversee major re-skilling of construction’s talent pool. If it doesn’t, it warns, the construction industry will lose out on £25 billion of potential productivity benefits.
Mace Chief Executive Mark Reynolds, who is also responsible for industry skills on the Construction Leadership Council, said: “Everyone now acknowledges the current skills shortages need to be addressed.
“Our latest report highlights the opportunities the digital revolution can offer, how we can dramatically close the future skills gap and how we can meet the £25bn ‘productivity challenge’.
“The recommendations we have laid out will go some way towards addressing these issues.
“The industry, our training bodies and government need to work together to take full advantage of everything that Industry 4.0 can offer.”
The Mace report proposes three key recommendations:
1. Accelerate the use of new technology in training It says the industry must insist that the latest 3D printing technologies and augmented and virtual reality tools are introduced into industry training programmes and into ‘construction clubs’ in schools
2. Inform lifelong learning decisions It calls on the industry to commission large-scale sector-wide research and work with Government bodies like the Office of National Statistics and Construction Industry Training Board to ensure that its skills profile is changing to meet actual need.
3. Revolutionise traditional education programmes Current apprenticeship and training reforms do not go far enough to prepare the workforce for Industry 4.0, it says. The report says the industry must upend the curriculum on offer now to reflect the modern methods of construction and off-site assembly that will be needed in the future.