Allocation of £3m to bridge construction skills gap in Scotland

A total of £3m is being pumped into Scottish construction to support new workers and improve retention levels.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is investing the money to support those at the beginning of their career, with the Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities (SACO) using it to support workers through job coaching, mentoring, employer engagement, and peer and buddy systems.

The initiative will specifically target the highlands and islands of Scotland, in addition to central and southern regions, and has been commissioned to run over three years.

It comes off the back of a scheme tested in England and Wales, which offered 20,000 people the chance to work in the sector, most of whom came from unconventional routes. But the Scottish version is being expanded to aid job retention.

Despite efforts to boost the skills workforce in Scotland, early data from the CITB’s annual Construction Network report indicates that the annual recruitment level for construction in Scotland, based on 2021 figures, will increase by 2 per cent.

The training body is now looking for bids from firms that can work with organisations to provide the training needed to help those in their early careers move to the next level. The initiative is designed as a step towards meeting the rising demand for workers in the region.

CITB engagement director for Scotland Ian Hughes urged firms to participate in closing the skills gap.

He said: “We know we have a huge challenge on our hands with the current skills gap and demand for more workers. We must act now to ensure industry has the workforce it needs, and I urge all employers to consider this great opportunity.”

Overall data for the UK, as provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed there were 48,000 vacancies in construction for the three months up to March.

Those in sustained employment of three to six months will be provided with check-ins and reviews through the scheme.

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