New reports will help develop the construction workforce

University expertise at the heart of drive to improve skills

Date posted

17 May 2019


Investment in apprenticeships, upskilling workers and attracting more people into the industry are among the themes of 40 recommendations in the New Housing and Future Construction Skills report, published today.

Female in high vis jacket holding hard hat with building site backdrop


Although the industry faces a number of challenges and skills shortages, advancements in technology and new apprenticeship programmes present opportunities for new skill sets, career paths and workforce diversity.


The Scottish Government has also published a separate report outlining stakeholder views on the wider challenges for housing to 2040. Issues raised included the need for improvements to existing housing stock, a recognition of the distinct needs of Scotland’s rural communities, and people, communities, and place-making at the heart of planning.


The Housing and Construction Skills Short-Life Working Group, chaired by report author Edinburgh Napier’s Professor Sean Smith, was set up in 2018. This independent group was established to assess and provide recommendations for future new housing and construction skills.


Members included house-builders, industry organisations, college, university, public sector, training and skills organisations. The group have split their recommendations into action for the short-term (3 years), medium-term (4 to 9 years) and long-term (10 years). 


The group has considered the role of new technologies and construction methods and other factors which might affect the supply of skilled labour.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell welcomed both of today’s reports.

Picture from above and behind of two construction workers on site

She said: “It is crucial that Scotland has a skilled and productive construction workforce, both now and in future. We are already working collaboratively with industry, education, skills bodies and local authorities to deliver develop the workforce required for major housebuilding projects.

“We need a housing system that works for us all, that is dynamic enough to adapt to future challenges and is resilient in the face of them.”

Edinburgh Napier’s Professor Smith said: “The coming decade will be one of the most innovative and transformative periods for the housebuilding sector as new technologies and approaches enter the market.


“For young people considering a career in engineering, construction and housebuilding there are a range of new opportunities, roles and key skills the sector will require.


“There is now a unique opportunity for school career advisors, industry and the public sector to enable the pathways into these future careers and support greater diversity and inclusion.”


School of Engineering & the Built Environment

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