Lord Best: Construction industry can address big challenges in politics
President of the Local Government Association, Lord Best has said the biggest challenges in politics today could be addressed by the construction industry.
Speaking at a
Chartered Institute of Building(CIOB) conference on how to inspire young people to get into the industry, Lord Best, who also chairs the Hanover Housing Group and is a former chairman of the House of Lords Audit Committee, said the construction industry was able to address three of the biggest issues in politics at the moment; employment, housing and immigration.
The crossbench peer noted three key statistics the report contained, which he believed highlighted the issues with training in the industry.
Firstly, that there were one million NEETs aged 16-24 in the UK, and that the longer these people remained out of employment or training, the more difficult it would be to get them back into work. Secondly, that there were 182,000 construction jobs available to be filled by 2018. Thirdly, that only 7,280 construction apprenticeships were being completed per year.
These figures “don’t add up” stated Lord Best. “The industry needs to double the numbers in training, and it needs to do it fast.”
He stressed the need to have young people trained in the more specialist construction skills needed in modern construction projects.
There was a 50% drop-out rate in construction apprenticeships currently, Lord Best noted. “We have to improve the offer to young people interested in the construction industry”, something he argued had to begin with good careers advice and enthusiasm in schools.
He closed his remarks to the conference by calling for a construction industry summit to be held, to discuss how the big three issues he had mentioned could all be addressed.
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