It’s been well documented that the construction industry has a widespread skills shortage. It is one of the reasons why there is such an acute lack of housing in the UK. But its also worth remember that our own industry is suffering as well, if not a bit quietly.
I have written many times before that the industry is suffering from a lack of youth and young people. Don’t get me wrong there are young people in the industry, but I seriously question if there is enough.
People retire from this industry all the time. People leave the industry all the time. The sector is getting busier quite quickly and there is more and more strain put upon every part of the supply chain. After some frank conversations I’ve have with various people from the industry over the past 12 months, it is clear we’re facing a crisis.
For me, the industry needs a quick injection of apprentices and young people, around 15,000 should be a good start. Where did I get that number from? Well, according to the latest Insight Data market report, there are 14,771 fabricator and installers in the UK. If each one of those fabricators and installers took at least one young person on, at least as an apprentice, then I believe that this would be a good start.
Just a start
That is just a start though. The industry employs tens of thousands of people, if not edging into six figures, and so 15k won’t be enough to alleviate the problems.
For me, the industry has to start working with educational institutions like colleges, academies and Sixth Form centres to promote our industry to those thinking about their future. Despite our image, there are huge opportunities in our sector. Great careers where people can forge ahead, make good money, achieve big things.
This is a good industry to work in, at almost any level. We need to attract youth and young people to ensure our sector continues to move forward.
The importance of youth
Young blood doesn’t just become a replacement for those leaving the industry. Young people bring the new ideas, the new energy, the new innovations that any industry needs to keep moving forward.
We are at risk of stagnation in future years if we do not introduce a new generations of workers to the window and door sector.