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Almost 20,000 new workers needed for Scotland’s construction sector, report says

Scotland’s construction sector faces a “major task ahead” to recruit workers – with industry bosses estimating almost 20,000 more staff will be needed over the next five years.

A new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) showed some 19,550 extra workers – 3,910 a year – will be required to meet demand in the sector between now and 2027 in Scotland.

There is demand for workers for infrastructure projects, private housebuilding and repair and maintenance work, according to the annual construction skills network report.

As part of its efforts to boost recruitment, the CITB has recently launched its employer network pilot project – which helps local firms recognise their training priorities.

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In Scotland, the pilot is being led by the Scottish Civils Training Group, with an initial focus on supporting employers from Inverness.

In addition to this, the CITB’s Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities awarded £1.3 million of funding to help support 1,000 job starts across the Highlands and Islands in a bid to reduce the skills gap.

CITB Scotland engagement director Ian Hughes stressed that while the sector will “certainly face challenges heading into the new year”, the new report also showed there is “a lot of opportunity available for Scotland”.

Mr Hughes said: “Despite the economic challenges, there is still huge demand for more workers in the industry and it will become even more important to retain our current workforce over the next 18 months.

“There are a range of projects set to bring a steady stream of work into Scotland this year, including the new River Clyde bridge, Scottish Water’s £5 billion capital investment plans and £200 million towards Scottish Gas Networks mains replacement, to name a few.

“These opportunities in the infrastructure and industrial sectors will be major drivers for growth in Scotland.”

He continued: “Supporting the industry in attracting and retaining talent from right across Scotland will be our main priority, with a particular focus on training routes.

“There’s no denying we have a major task ahead but I feel inspired by the resilience shown from industry over the last couple of years and look forward to supporting industry in emerging stronger when the recession ends.”