The construction industry workforce is our most important asset


Joey Gardiner (leader, 24 August) is absolutely right to bring our attention to the importance of construction apprenticeships, and to raise the alarm on the potential disastrous impact the reduction in numbers will have in future years.

The construction industry workforce is our most important asset, as well as our most expensive. We must see beyond the recession and be forward thinking if we are to avoid the twin perils of skills shortages and wage inflation.

The halving of the number of apprentices dramatically reduces the pipeline of talent flowing into the industry, and leaves us ill equipped to respond as the industry bounces out of recession. We also face an unusually high outflow of labour resource in the coming years, with the retirement of the baby-boomer generation of experienced workers and professionals.

It’s tough out there for sure, but investing in young people now will pay us back many times over. The companies that want to be around in five to 10 years would do well to heed Joey’s message and commit to apprenticeships as a key weapon in the impending war for talent.

Bruce Boughton, people development manager, Lovell Partnerships