More skilled hands are required to solve the country’s current construction shortfall – but are fears of a post-Brexit Britain sending engineers of all stripes scurrying overseas? In November 2017, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found net migration to the UK had plummeted by more than 100,000 – the largest decline since records began – in the year following the EU referendum. A figure made all the more significant by the revelation that 8% of the UK’s construction workers, which equates to 176,500 people, are EU nationals. Little wonder, then, more than half of Britain’s construction workers are reportedly ‘concerned’ by the prospect of a skills shortage. Justifiably, perhaps, when it’s anticipated output from the UK construction market will flourish throughout 2018.

Attractive proposition

With ‘divorce’ from Europe looming, there’s little doubt the UK cannot solely rely on importing engineering skills – as valuable as they are – to bolster all sectors of the construction industry. Therefore, a concerted recruitment campaign needs to be activated at the earliest opportunity to locate the 400,000 workers it’s estimated the UK needs every year until 2021 to match the demand for new building products. Educating the next generation of roofers, bricklayers and the like on the benefits of a career in the building trade is key to attracting a new workforce. Companies such as NCTS have a part to play in the tuition process, involved as it is in helping young people cultivate a career in one of construction’s most important strands – roofing.

Committed to providing an outstanding level of training across all the sector’s disciplines, NCTS is seeking to work with the CITB, trade federations and manufacturers to encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships. The company is also looking at ways of attracting more funding to allow this to happen at a national level.

Survive and thrive

It appears the workforce of tomorrow – more than 50% at least – view construction as a non-academic profession that clearly doesn’t fit with their idea of what a fulfilling, exciting, well-paid, career should look like. It is why NCTS offers a variety of professional training courses designed to fit with an array of needs and skill levels to educate candidates and create an environment for them to thrive – rather than simply survive – in the roofing sector.

The industry has so much to offer and today’s youngsters need to know that. They need reminding that it is in their hands to shape the world we inherit tomorrow; that their knowledge and skills are paramount to progress. A job in construction can be very-well paid, but its value to the living and working environment is priceless.

At NCTS, we believe by reconstructing people’s view of roofing, engineering and the like as a desirable career choice, the necessary education and training we provide will go some way to cementing the roofing industry skills gap – the most urgent of all UK building projects. Failure to convince a new generation to take-up tools could mean post-Brexit, the UK has the materials, but lacks the manpower to fulfil the nation’s building needs.