Civil engineering boss Huw Jones has added his voice to calls for more young people to consider a career in construction and engineering to help fill a looming skills gap.
Huw, head of Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, says it is crucial that school leavers be fully aware of opportunities available within the sector to avoid a shortage stalling an economic recovery.
His comments follow new research by the CITB, the national training organisation for construction in the UK, highlighting that more than 182,000 additional construction jobs are needed across the country from 2014 to 2018 as output continues to grow.
The annual Construction Skills Network report found that, on average, the industry will need to recruit 36,400 people a year over the next five years to keep up with demand, due to faster than expected recovery.
The 182,000 recruitment requirements includes increases in demand for employment based on anticipated levels of workload, and those needed to fill roles left by those moving in and out of the industry due to retirement, death and moving between industries.
Huw Jones, managing director of Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, which has offices across the UK, said: “It is really important that young people know about the opportunities available and are given the chance to undergo training that will hopefully lead to a bright future with good prospects.
“It is also crucial that a shortage of workers does not stall the recovery as the construction industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the recession.”
Jones Bros is committed to providing opportunities for young people, having run a successful apprenticeship programme for several decades.
The apprenticeship scheme for plant operators enables trainees to gain valuable experience on a range of high profile projects in a range of sectors including renewable energy, waste management facilities and flood and marine defences.
“As a third generation family firm we really value our apprenticeship scheme and have never waivered from this commitment to have an intake of apprentices each year, even during times of recession,” added Huw.
“We appreciate the value of giving skills to future generations and, because we have always invested in apprentice training, we benefit from a highly-trained, committed and loyal workforce.
“Many of our employees have been with the company for a considerable number of years, frequently working alongside their own family members.”
Founded in the 1950s and employing almost 350 people, Jones Bros has grown rapidly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.