News & Views

On The Tools focus on the construction skills shortage

As the largest and most engaged online construction-based community in the UK, On The Tools has launched a new campaign, Construction Skills Shortage Week™.

This national initiative addresses the pressing issue of a skills shortage in the UK construction industry. The event aims to unite the industry, raise awareness about the skills shortage, tackle perceptions surrounding careers in construction, and support employers.

Taking place between the 15th – 21st of April 2024, the comprehensive campaign is intended to raise awareness about the construction skills shortage within the UK and for relevant changes to be made.

The campaign will span emails, social media, webinars, and traditional media channels (including billboards and posters). It will highlight the urgency of the issue, targeting not only those within the construction sector but also school leavers, industry transfers, and consumers.

During Construction Skills Shortage Week™, On the Tools will provide a dedicated resource centre on the website, offering essential information and resources for tradespeople and businesses. From explainer articles to guide employers through the process of hiring and retaining new entrants to infographics and videos, the resource centre will provide the necessary tools to navigate the challenges posed by the skills shortage.

The campaign coincides with the release of a white paper report by On The Tools. The Closing the Gap report examines the causes of the skills shortage, assesses the current apprenticeship system, and proposes informed recommendations to address the issue. Alongside case studies and an ‘industry highlights’ section, it promotes the industry, showcasing its opportunities.

The 2023 UK Trade Skills Index found that the construction industry needs 937,000 new tradespeople in the coming decade. That translates to 2,170 new entrants a week (or 310 a day). Of the 937,000 new workers required, nearly a quarter of a million – 244,000 – must be qualified apprentices.

The CEO and co-founder of On The Tools, Lee Wilcox, said in the report, “We know how many tradespeople we need to plug the skills shortage, but you can’t build anything on a bad foundation. We needed to go to the boots on the ground to figure out precisely what’s required to get those people on board and how we can make those changes.”

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