Skills shortages affecting quality of workmanship



A new report released by Scape group has highlighted concerns over the skills shortages in the construction industry particularly targeting tradesmen and apprentices as particular areas of concern with one in ten contractors and suppliers saying skills shortages is critically impacting budgets, according to  Scape’s new ‘Sustainability in the Supply Chain’ report.


The negative impact of the skills shortage and the quality of the workmanship is of particular concern with nearly 85% of public sector construction managers, and 58% of private sector contractors and suppliers citing it as critically impacting their ability to keep to budget

Scape Group’s new ‘Sustainability in the Supply Chain’ report, which surveyed over 150 contractors, subcontractors and senior managers at public sector organisations highlighted the stark realities of a skills shortage that’s at “breaking point”.

Critically, the report highlights a profound juxtaposition between the public and private sector when it comes to how they define a healthy supply chain, and what their primary aims are. Within the public sector 70% of those surveyed felt that providing long-term benefits for the local economy should be one of the biggest priorities, compared to 58% within the private sector.


Similarly, 67% of those surveyed in the public sector believeddigger that local skills and suppliers is the most important element, whereas those surveyed in the private sector saw operational stability and minimising waste as more important factors.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, comments: “Our research has shown that the skills shortage is at breaking point, not only severely impacting the quality of what we are building but also our ability to build it on budget. While there is a mountain to climb to overcome this challenge, basic recommendations can be put in place to ease the burden, for example, 19% of contractors and subcontractors still do not have an apprenticeship scheme.”

Peter Young, Kier Executive Director, Building UK, who operate the National Minor Worksframework, comments: “This research offers important insight into the benefits of working collaboratively with local suppliers to create a long-term, sustainable supply chain. Kier is committed to working with local businesses and suppliers in the communities where we work, which spans projects nationwide from Aberdeen to Truro.”

Rob Holt, Managing Director, Carillion Community Services, who operate the National Facilities Management framework, comments: “To generate local employment, boost local economies and help us to engage with the communities in which we work, we’ve set tough targets to work with local suppliers in delivering work under the Scape National Facilities Management framework. With a supplier spend of around £3 billion, Carillion firmly believe our supply chain partners can help us to make a real impact in supporting the UK economy. But, as this report has shown, they need our continued support in order to be able to do so. Using these insights will therefore enable us to look at the practical ways in which we can all work together to assist the supply chain in achieving success.”

Dean Banks, Managing Director of Construction Services at Balfour Beatty, Scape’s partner on the National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, comments: “Scape’s research reveals a widespread focus on sustainable construction; that means supporting local businesses, inspiring a diverse group of talented individuals into the sector and ensuring the future demand for skilled labour is met. We are committed to delivering this as part of the Scape framework and are creating numerous opportunities for young adults and transforming the fortunes of young, talented people in the UK.”

Rick Willmott, Group Chief Executive, Willmott Dixon, Scape’s partner on the Major Worksframework, comments: “I am extremely proud of Willmott Dixon’s achievements through our partnership with Scape, our shared values have allowed us to focus not only on offering efficient and cost-effective solutions but also on adding lasting value to the local communities we work in. Our common focus on SME engagement and growth has seen us set and achieve challenging targets for local spend.  We are not complacent though and will continue to set a high benchmark that I hope will inspire other companies in our sector as we all use our economic influence to drive growth in the local supply chain.”



  1. I think this just goes to show how much of a negative impact the CSCS and CPCS schemes have had on the industry. I , like many others, bothered to attend CeCol/CITB when being trained or qualified wasn’t a must to get on site. We were trained and tested to be safe and efficient at our trade. City and guilds was respected around the world. In the 35yrs since I left Bircham Newton Training Centre , as a City and Guilds qualified construction plant operator, I have some 67000hrs operating time under my belt. Like many others, who trained , earned their qualifications and spent the years since working on site , I have now walked away from the industry. CSCS and CPCS are the reason why. Being forced into proving I can still do a job that I was qualified to do 35 yrs ago and have done ever since takes the piss. Any scheme which allows workers who cant communicate with the rest of the work force on to site is dangerous. Any scheme that states a person is qualified to operate a category of plant when they cant even fill it with fuel without causing damage is also dangerous. I could rattle on about people who cant use a string and stick or not able to load a dumper or dig to level or even change buckets using a quick hitch but no one listens. I suggest CSCS and CPCS be sacked and the industry start to encourage the tradesmen these schemes alienated back before their knowledge and experience is lost forever.

  2. I am 45yrs young and interested in training to drive articulated dumpers, my options are CPCS, which as Andy states is long winded and in my view having done much research all about getting as much money as possible with re-assessments every 5yrs etc. My preferred route into articulated dumpers would be through NPORS, it seems a much fairer route into the industry, no expensive re-assessments and cheaper to do than CPCS (i will be funding the training myself). The issue with me going down that route is most contractors seem to want CPCS which i feel is discriminating against NPORS. There are probably a lot of people like me who want to get into the industry but are put off by the high cost of doing so, with no guarantee to get any work due to lack of experience. I started my working life in the print trade, city & guilds trained and left after 22 years service, the internet killed the print trade a bit like CPCS is smothering the construction sector for private individuals.