A series of research sources have identified that Management Skills and Information Technology confidence, usage and awareness are amongst the two highest skills gaps for the Northern Ireland Construction industry.
That is according to CITB NI’s Annual Skills Statement, a synopsis of research findings carried out amongst NI construction employers, employees and stakeholders.
The statement highlights that whilst the local construction industry is lagging behind the UK, construction employment in NI is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 1% over the next 5 years, to around 64,500 by 2019 with an average of 1,500 new employees needed each year.
The statement clearly shows that NI construction employers are aware of the challenges currently facing them and the wider industry, with strategic management and planning and organisational skills being frequently reported as lacking by construction employers. The research also indicates that of those workers that had supervisory or management responsibilities at their current site, 48% had never had any formal training specifically designed to improve their managerial or supervisory knowledge or skills.
With the rapid developments in technology the need for further training in the areas of basic and advanced IT skills is frequently referenced in industry research. Of those NI construction employers who reported skills gaps, 36% reported lacking skills in ‘basic computer literacy’ 32% stated ‘advanced IT/ software skills’ as a training need. Common areas mentioned in relation to IT training needs include software in relation to Estimating, Drawings, Accounts & Payroll, Project Management, website development and basic computer skills.
Whilst Management and IT Skills were the strongest area of skills development 75% of employers anticipate that their workforce will need to acquire new skills over the next 12 months. Lack of Construction qualifications (44%), Health and Safety legislation awareness (27%) and further knowledge and development in areas of Essential Skills, Low Carbon and Building Information Modelling (BIM) were all cited as areas of skills development required by local construction employees.