CITB launches first-of-its-kind skills analysis for Scottish construction


Scottish construction is set to benefit from new CITB research which – for the first time – will give a detailed five-year overview of skills, demand and supply.

  • The most wide-ranging regional skills mapping exercise for construction in Scotland; 
  • new research that gives an unprecedented level of detail about the industry. 

Read the full Local Construction Needs for Scotland report. 

This report is the first-of-its-kind, and puts into action CITB’s new evidence based model of working. It will be renewed annually, alongside the existing research offer. The aim of the report is to help CITB work with industry and the education sector to address the challenges raised by the findings, and to create a series of regional skills action plans that are meaningful and direct future training needs.

With overall demand in 2018 estimated at 247,300 and an existing workforce of nearly 241,000, the overall workforce in Scotland is estimated to need nearly 6,400 workers. This represents a shortfall of 3% on current employment.

Headline findings from the report include:

  • Construction skills pressures in areas such as the Highlands & Islands and South East;
  • shortfall of workforce numbers in the Highlands & Islands;
  • potential shortages in painting and decorating and plumbing trades;
  • need for support staff who work in the supply chain – IT specialists, researchers, lawyers, procurement experts – further emphasising that construction is a career for everyone.

Ian Hughes, CITB Partnerships Director for Scotland, said: “We have undertaken the most wide-ranging regional skills mapping exercise for construction in Scotland. The research gives an unprecedented level of detail about the industry, providing us with an in-depth evidence base of construction skills requirements on a regional basis.

“It enables us, in partnership with industry and key stakeholders, to develop regional skills action plans, which will address existing and emerging occupational shortfalls, and really focus on where support is needed most. 

“We will now be able to measure how we are closing skills gaps, and in turn increasing the flow of skilled workers into the Scottish construction industry.”

Stephen Sheridan, Skills Planning Manager for Construction at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “SDS is committed to developing a detailed evidence base of skills supply and demand to help inform investment in construction skills from both employers and the public sector.

“This research reflects that commitment and we welcome the recognition that apprenticeships remain fundamentally important for employers in meeting their future skills needs.

“SDS will continue working with construction employers of all sizes and in all parts of the country to help ensure they can source the skills they need to grow.”

Ian Rogers, Chief Executive at the Scottish Decorators’ Federation, said: “The construction industry has been calling for the evidence base in Scotland to go into this level of detail for some time. I welcome this initial report, which highlights the skills issues, both geographically, and at an occupational level.

“The findings will enable us to plan for the future and get the right skills in place across the whole country.”

Read the full Local Construction Needs for Scotland report. 

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