As with many things that outrage and worry us in the UK, the very obvious youth and skills shortage that UK construction and the window and door industry is one that worries us all. But is enough really being done? Sites like this and many others will highlight the problem, explain why it’s so important, then we all tend to agree, but then nothing concrete from above seems to happen.
An ageing community
When you look at the general demographic of the people working in the industry at all levels right now, there is a distinct lack of young people working on site, surveying, installing, selling and all other positions in between. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of flow of young blood being introduced to replace those who are older and will leave those positions soon.
Speaking as a 26 year old that has worked in this industry for ten years now, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every day I have worked. There hasn’t been a single day where I have got up and thought, “oh god, another day at that place.” I genuinely enjoy doing what I do.
I don’t believe that as an industry we do enough to promote the exciting career opportunities a young person can have in our sector. There is plenty of money to be made in areas like sales, fabrication, research and development, IT and tech etc. All what I would consider to be engaging and exciting career opportunities. Yet we never really bang than drum?
Shrugging off the tag
There is no doubting that our industry doesn’t have the sexiest outgoing appearance. I no that when I told my Dad I wanted to get involved in the family business he told me that I really didn’t want to get myself into this line of work But I’m glad I did!
When you’re on the inside of this industry it really isn’t as bad, boring and sleazy as perhaps most people think it it. So I think we need to be going out to the general public and show off some of the best bits out industry has to offer in the jobs front.
We have to. We have an ageing demographic in this sector. At 26 I think people would still consider me very young to be in this industry, which is worrying. For me, we have to start drafting in waves of young people on apprenticeships to start filling the major gaps that are going to be left when people above them retire.
There is also a great risk that businesses will simply close their doors. If family businesses don’t have any interested children to take over from their parents, there is a real possibility that those companies will just close down, which would be a sorry end. Other businesses could buy them out, but that’s expensive for the buyers and usually a non-preferred option for those owning the business at that time.
The skills and youth shortage isn’t going away. As a group we have to really start promoting the very tangible benefits our industry has to offer on the career front and get some more talented young people in to continue taking this industry forward.