Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan paves the way for the future


Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan

Juliet Smithson is the head of employer engagement and delivery in England at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Juliet directs CITB’s work to shape the Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan, as well as leading regional engagement teams to ensure that employers are aware of, and engaged with, CITB’s Levy-funded products and services

The homebuilding sector is one of the largest parts of the construction industry. The government currently estimates that 300,000 new homes are needed per year to meet housing demand.

The scale of the industry is vast, and so is the need for skills and training, but in recent years the sector has struggled to meet expectations and requirements.

To help the industry address its priorities, CITB is supporting four Sector Skills Plans: Repair & Maintenance (including retrofit and heritage skills); Infrastructure & Commercial; Public & Industrial; and Homebuilding.

Sector Skills Plans are tailor-made strategies designed to address the specific needs of different sectors within the construction industry.

Owned and shaped by industry employers and stakeholders, they outline clear actions and interventions to the skills challenges in each sector.

The Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan was established in early 2023 and is the furthest progressed of the four plans.

The Sector Advisory Group is made up of a number of employers, along with the National House-Building Council and trade federations including the Home Building Federation (HBF), Association of Brickwork Contractors, National Federation of Builders, British Woodworking Federation and Federation of Master Builders, with HBF taking the lead.

Matching skills with the homebuilding pipeline

CITB research, conducted with HBF, has revealed that for every extra 10,000 houses, the sector needs 2,500 bricklayers, 1,000 carpenters, 400 site managers and 300 electricians and plumbers.

CITB has worked with the sector representatives to agree common ground and a plan to address these needs, focusing to resolve productivity issues, strengthen skills for the future and foster talent acquisition.

The intent of the plan is to support the sector with their identified skills and training needs, matching the supply of skills with demand.

The plan has been created in partnership with homebuilding sector stakeholders and aims to increase the availability of skilled workers to help meet the needs of the homebuilding pipeline.

CITB is investing £3m into the initiative over the next two years, which will include support for new entrants to the industry through multiskilled hubs and upskilling the existing workforce through a range of options, leading to increased quality, productivity and defect reduction.

Supporting smaller firms and the supply chain

CITB also continues to expand their New Entrant Support Team (NEST), to support SME and micro companies and more specifically to service the needs of homebuilding supply chains.

The Sector Advisory Group has also committed to working with CITB on the creation and development of competence frameworks and improving the delivery and quality of brickwork standards in FE provision.

We are pleased that HBF is able to lead on this important piece of work but also delighted that other employer representative bodies have collaborated freely to ensure that the sector plan encompasses homebuilders of all sizes, including micro companies.

The Sector Advisory Group leading this plan is committed to working across the homebuilding sector and providing an inclusive offer that will allow smaller firms to access and benefit from this broad offer of support.

Solid foundations for sustainable growth

Sector plans are intended to provide a framework for supporting the sector to resolve the supply and demand issues that impact on skills gaps and shortages.

While the Homebuilding Sector Plan is underway with interventions already being delivered, there is still much work to be done on this and other sector plans.

Our Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan represents progress towards unlocking the full potential of the UK construction sector. Work has already begun to achieve the measures set out in the plan, whether that’s through additional support from NEST or new skills hubs. The plan lays a solid foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.

If the industry can continue to work together, following the path set out in the plan it came together to deliver, construction will continue to see considerable benefits.

 

Juliet Smithson

Head of employer engagement and delivery for England

Construction Industry Training Board

www.citb.co.uk

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