A new survey by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has found that despite huge investment in major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and HS2 across the UK, the realisation of the projects could be compromised by a growing skills shortage,

CECA represents more than 300 member companies, which between them carry out between 70% and 80% of the UK’s civil engineering projects. The firms polled in the survey cited a shortage of skilled workers and rising inflation as their top concerns.

In the immediate term, Umbrella Company Employees and other professionals in the contracting community can expect to be in heightened demand if they have skills and experience relevant to civil engineering. The CECA’s director of external affairs, Alasdair Reisner, explained that, in response to the extended downturn, many skilled workers who had previously staffed the industry had either left engineering to do other things or migrated to infrastructure projects overseas.

Now that demand for these skills is once again picking up, the UK is left with a significant shortage. This will translate into heavier workloads for CECA’s members, as well as for professional contractors who can supply the requisite skills.

In the longer term, Mr Reisner warned, new blood must be attracted into the sector. He said: “In order to address this skills gap, we need to have better understanding of likely areas of future demand so that we can put in place training that will deliver the skills we need. It is essential that we have good graduate and apprenticeship routes into the industry, and there is a pressing need to avoid an escalation of employment costs due to a lack of availability.”

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