Laing O Rourke launch report to help overcome the UK skills gap

By Catherine Sturman
Leading international engineering enterprise Laing ORourkehas today launched a reportto help tackle the UKs increased skills gap in the construction and...

Leading international engineering enterprise Laing O’Rourke has today launched a report to help tackle the UK’s increased skills gap in the construction and infrastructure sector.

With infrastructure investment taking centre stage in Philip Hammond’s much anticipated first Autumn Statement, focus has once again turned to how the UK tackles the growing skills gap within construction and infrastructure. Laing O’Rourke’s new report highlights the critical skills issues facing the industry today.

Titled, ‘A ten-point plan to overcome the UK’s Construction and Infrastructure skills gap’, the report presents a series of recommendations to Government, industry and education providers on how a unified approach can help to deliver the skilled workforce that our infrastructure and economy needs.

John O’Connor, Laing O’Rourke’s Group Human Capital Director said: “Our plan highlights that there is a worrying skills shortage in the UK construction and engineering sectors and presents a clear series of practical recommendations to help close the skills gap in the design, manufacturing, engineering and construction spaces.”

Mark Farmer, author of the Farmer Review said: "My recently published Farmer Review recommendations are centred on being able to improve productivity and predictability whilst making the industry more attractive to new entrants through a digital engineering led education, skills development and end to end delivery approach.

Laing O'Rourke has taken bold and visionary steps in their business to embrace this agenda ahead of many of their competitors and I believe this 10 point plan is an important addition to the debate on how we appropriately modernise and safeguard our industry's future."

Alison Watson, founder and Managing Director of Class of Your Own, and creator of the Design Engineer Construct! (DEC!) curriculum said: "The UK could be a world leader in built environment education, but for too long, we've delivered student engagement that focuses on quick wins instead of long term impact.

Laing O'Rourke was an early supporter of the DEC! learning programme, and are now seeing the rewards of their commitment through the young, exciting talent they have helped to develop. I wholly support the LOR ten-point plan - the skills are out there in today's digital generation; there's simply a lack of awareness that they can be applied in the Construction industry.”

This ten-point plan provides recommendations which are realistic and achievable and will help tackle the crisis facing the country and the solutions will help advance the skills agenda moving forward.

The report’s ten recommendations are:

1.       Flex the Government’s planned Apprenticeship Levy and reduce delays to approval of ‘Trailblazer Apprenticeship’ standards

2.       Create regionally focused skills pipelines

3.       Increase availability of Russell Group standard part-time degree apprenticeships

4.       Review options for career transitioning apprenticeships

5.       Introduce GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC) disciplines

6.       Foster collaboration between industry and government to deliver a broader range of improved careers advice for construction and engineering

7.       Commit the industry to measurable improvements in diversity

8.       Seize the opportunity of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

9.       Support the creation of a single construction and infrastructure skills body

10.   Facilitate the ongoing professional development of a directly employed workforce


The supply of skilled workers is vital to the industry in order for it to deliver major construction and infrastructure projects across the country, and with the Government’s recent announcements, investment and retention is needed more than ever to tackle the mismatch between the supply and demand of new recruits and trained professionals.

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Read the November 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine.


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