UK infrastructure boom ‘risked by skills shortage’

Only half of sustainability experts are confident those working on infrastructure projects have the necessary skills. That’s according to a new report from IEMA, which suggests the UK is currently […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Only half of sustainability experts are confident those working on infrastructure projects have the necessary skills.

That’s according to a new report from IEMA, which suggests the UK is currently experiencing an unparalleled surge of investment in infrastructure and must find enough of the right workers to keep up with demand if it is to maintain this momentum.

IEMA says the planned pipeline of projects to drive economic growth, boost productivity and improve quality of life is currently “precarious”, due to Brexit implications and the predicted loss of 47% of skilled workers from around the EU.

It suggests this labour crunch has created a skills deficit that must be plugged as soon as possible.

The group estimates the British construction industry must hire 400,000 people every year between now and 2021 if it is to meet demand – equivalent to one worker every 77 seconds.

CEO of IEMA, Tim Balcon, said: “We have a golden opportunity to further transform the profile of the UK’s infrastructure skills base.

“Government and business must work together to deliver what is urgently needed.”