Attracting Talent and Supporting Skills to Build Inclusive Growth

Laura Brady, CITB Scotland

It’s no secret that the Scottish construction industry needs more workers. Employers, however, need support to allow them to take on more apprentices and staff – particularly in the face of Brexit-related uncertainty.

A key part of my work at CITB is to help employers find innovative solutions to attract, retain and grow the construction workforce of the future.

Our approach to procurement reflects the Scottish Government’s drive to achieve ‘inclusive growth’. This means we work to help increase prosperity and equity at a local community level, creating fair opportunities for everyone wherever they live.

Building community benefits into procurement practices is central to CITB’s Client Based Approach (CBA), which launched in 2011. The CBA prioritises the development of skills, employment and other interventions within its guidelines, including apprenticeships, work placements and local face-to-face events promoting construction careers.

CITB works collaboratively with local and national partner organisations to share best practice, agree where to best direct investment and ensure that combined efforts are aligned. Many companies have embraced the CBA and now have dedicated teams leading in this area. As a result of this continuous engagement, construction is well placed to deliver effectively on the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.

The employer-led, Scottish Construction Inclusive Growth Working Group, similarly brings together contractors to share knowledge of delivering benefits to communities with the support of the supply chain. The group reviews good practice, working closely with the Scottish Government.

CITB also funds the development of new approaches to bring more people into industry. Morgan Sindall and Keepmoat, for example, received £1.2 million towards the Glasgow City Region Sighthill Project, and are key collaborators in the BUILD North Glasgow programme along with Sibbald Training, Tigers, and Glasgow Kelvin College. The three-year programme will provide structured work experience, training and certification for those not in education, employment or training, and ex-service leavers – 67% of whom will then enter into further education and/or employment.

Industry has the jobs. It wants the people. By working together, we can give everyone the chance to grasp those opportunities.