Let schools teach Construction GCSEs and A-levels, says Laing O’Rourke
Ten point plan by Irish-owned infrastructure giant promises it will end the industry’s skills shortage
Laing O’Rourke this week urged the government to launch GCSEs and A-levels in construction to fill skills gaps in the construction and infrastructure sectors. Its 10-point plan, launched on Monday, also urges the government to commit employers to “measurable improvements in diversity”, better apprenticeships and set up regional skills “pipelines”.
Launching the report, entitled A ten-point plan to overcome the UK’s Construction and Infrastructure skills gap, the company said it is a “series of recommendations to Government, industry and education providers on how a unified approach can help to deliver the skilled workforce that our infrastructure and economy needs.”
John O’Connor, Laing O’Rourke’s Human Capital Director said: “Our plan highlights that there is a worrying skills shortage in the UK construction and engineering sectors and presents a clear series of practical recommendations to help close the skills gap in the design, manufacturing, engineering and construction spaces.”
Mark Farmer, author of the Farmer Review said: “My recently published Farmer Review recommendations are centred on being able to improve productivity and predictability whilst making the industry more attractive to new entrants through a digital engineering led education, skills development and end to end delivery approach. Laing O’Rourke has taken bold and visionary steps in their business to embrace this agenda ahead of many of their competitors and I believe this 10 point plan is an important addition to the debate on how we appropriately modernise and safeguard our industry’s future.”
Alison Watson, founder and Managing Director of Class of Your Own, and creator of the Design Engineer Construct! (DEC!) curriculum said: “The UK could be a world leader in built environment education, but for too long, we’ve delivered student engagement that focuses on quick wins instead of long term impact.
“Laing O’Rourke was an early supporter of the DEC! learning programme, and are now seeing the rewards of their commitment through the young, exciting talent they have helped to develop. I wholly support the LOR ten-point plan – the skills are out there in today’s digital generation; there’s simply a lack of awareness that they can be applied in the Construction industry.”
The company said its recommendations are realistic and achievable and will help tackle the crisis facing the country.
“The supply of skilled workers is vital to the industry in order for it to deliver major construction and infrastructure projects across the country, and with the Government’s recent announcements, investment and retention is needed more than ever to tackle the mismatch between the supply and demand of new recruits and trained professionals,” it said.
The report’s ten recommendations are:
1. Flex the Government’s planned Apprenticeship Levy and reduce delays to approval of ‘Trailblazer Apprenticeship’ standards
2. Create regionally focused skills pipelines
3. Increase availability of Russell Group standard part-time degree apprenticeships
4. Review options for career transitioning apprenticeships
5. Introduce GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC) disciplines
6. Foster collaboration between industry and government to deliver a broader range of improved careers advice for construction and engineering
7. Commit the industry to measurable improvements in diversity
8. Seize the opportunity of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9. Support the creation of a single construction and infrastructure skills body
10. Facilitate the ongoing professional development of a directly employed workforce