LC International training and development associate director Brett Blake argues that construction businesses can still innovate and drive performance improvement, despite the worst skills shortage in a generation.

The last 18 months have brought unprecedented challenges for the construction industry. From Brexit to the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of companies across the sector have been repeatedly forced to adapt to the rapid changes happening all around them.

And to add to this, they’re faced with another huge obstacle – the worst skills shortage in decades.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recently reported that the industry will need to recruit 43,000 people per year in order to keep up with fast-growing demand, the imminent retirement of thousands of the sector’s most skilled professionals, and the departure of thousands more valuable EU workers.

For ambitious construction businesses, that means the critical question is this – how can they continue to innovate, expand and drive performance improvement while they struggle to find and retain qualified staff?

Improving productivity, quality and programme delivery in construction

To really drive improvement in these challenging times, organisations must embrace the tools and techniques that are already used extensively in other industries, and we have proven this can massively increase productivity and efficiency in our sector too.

At LC International, we believe this must always start with a company’s existing workforce.

One person can make a certain amount of difference. A whole team of people armed with a performance mindset and the tools and knowledge to implement this in practice, will always have an exponentially bigger impact.

The training we offer to leading construction businesses is made up of different modules and practically explains how to complete more tasks, more quickly and efficiently, with fewer people. It also demonstrates how to capitalise on existing in-house expertise to seek out improvement opportunities. Everything can be delivered either onsite or through collaborative digital workshops.

Teams are taken through the vital process of first identifying opportunities for improvement, then devising and implementing the better ways of working that will deliver higher performance.

Applying this approach allows people at all levels and in any role to look at what they currently do in a different light and make changes when things go wrong. They have the ability to take action and correct any errors.

Our practical workshops engage participants by working through how they can apply this approach in their own businesses. It encourages them to immediately take action and apply what they’ve learnt to make improvements across their own organisation.

As more people working in construction learn to improve the way they operate, a common approach begins to build not only across the organisation, but throughout the industry as a whole. Ultimately an army of people making lots of improvements is far more beneficial than one person or a small team trying to make all of the improvements.

The CITB Levy

For those looking to enhance their business and benefit from industry leading improvement training, the CITB levy is an incredibly valuable tool. It’s designed to support learning and development through specific grants so the construction industry can develop the skilled workforce it needs.

All members of the CITB can use the levy funding to pay for the costs of various training and development programmes, including our own improvement training. For non-members, specific training is still available but costs can’t be recouped through the levy fund.

By taking advantage of fantastic resources like these, UK construction can continue to thrive, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

To learn more about the CITB and its levy fund visit: https://www.citb.co.uk/