Breathe-in and hold your breath until this month’s budget is over; its contents will determine how strong the lungs of the housing sector are.
What’s clear for the housing sector is that while the long-term signs of continuing recovery are positive, the government must succeed in its aim to create thousands of apprenticeships over the lifetime of this Parliament if it is to solve the skills crisis and help to deliver ambitious targets for not only new housing but also ambitious growth in commercial activity.
Centre stage for the new government in its new legislative programme are both apprenticeships and housing. And without the necessary resources, the 200,000 Starter Homes that the government wants built over the next five years quite simply won’t get out of the ground unless we tackle the construction skills crisis.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that around half of small local contractors are struggling to hire key trades. The need to find appropriate skills is a stark reminder of how the government’s ambitions to build more new homes and boost commercial activity could be scuttled by a lack of skilled tradesmen.
As the construction industry accounts for around seven per cent of GDP, it means that the construction industry should probably be delivering some 200,000 of the three million apprenticeships the government is saying it will create.
Here is where the housing clients of today must step in more firmly than before and work alongside its supply chain and deliver a steady flow of candidates to fulfill the opportunities and create a strong skilled workforce that will deliver the houses we need.
Adrian JG Marsh
Editor – www.specfinish.co.uk