The skills shortage within the construction sector is well-documented, and has an impact on all businesses in the industry from house builders to suppliers.
The construction industry generates around £90 billion annually in the UK and employs nearly 3 million people, so the question is, why do government, schools, and others not work to improve the image of the sector and promote apprenticeships, training and qualifications in construction?
Today young people are rarely encouraged into construction qualifications or skills-based training. This can make it very hard to recruit the staff needed for a business to operate.
The other option for businesses is to employ people with potential who can be trained and ensure they are given the skills, development and career options to help them progress and thrive within the industry.
At Bennetts Cranes we are lucky to have a highly-skilled team working with us, many whom have been with us for numerous years – and retention is very important.
Expertise is critical to our business. As the tower crane specialists, our brand has been built on the high-level knowledge and expertise we offer our clients, and therefore training has always been extremely important to us, whether it’s site skills or office knowledge.
We invest in training and up-skilling our staff so that not only can they do their jobs effectively, but also so that they can progress in their career and enjoy job satisfaction.
For example, our CAD specialist Laura, is in the process of completing an HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, and has completed an Autocad professional level. Laura is able to offer our clients drawings of their tower crane schemes with the optimal selection of cranes in terms of positions, heights, jib lengths and capacities.
We’re also committed to going beyond the minimum requirements, to continually train our staff and provide them with refresher courses throughout their employment – ensuring they are always up to date with the latest equipment or health and safety processes.
This could be wire rope training courses, or harness health and safety updates, along with many others. Our team of electricians is up-skilling through formal NVQ level training courses and day release programmes, and our apprentice is currently at college three days a week doing a Level 4 BTec in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
On top of all this we think it’s important that our staff, whether site or office-based, have a good level of health and safety training combined with the knowledge and experience to suggest crane schemes – as well as having the CPCS Appointed Person qualification which enables them to plan and supervise lifting operations.
Construction is a fantastic and varied industry to build a career in. We’d like to see more investment centrally in the promotion of construction qualifications and training, with schools involved in making this option more obvious to young children. But until then, as a sector, it is up to us to up-skill our people and keep them in the industry for as long as possible.