The global director of Built Environment Professional Groups at RICS writes

Brick laying

The National Infrastructure Plan for Skills, published by Infrastructure UK, highlights that major infrastructure projects are threatened by the industry’s skills shortages, with a quarter of a million existing workers needing retraining and a gap of 100,000 workers predicted over the next five years (“Infrastructure pipeline needs 100,000 new workers”,, 30 September 2015).

We at the RICS have been echoing our concerns about this lack of skills, which will no doubt see the road, rail and energy sectors suffer as a result. In fact, our own research on worsening skills shortages revealed that 27,000 building projects are set to suffer within the next five years and this unfortunate trend looks to now be an issue in other built environment sectors.

One of the major contributors to this shortage of skills is a lack of young people entering the industry. It is our role, therefore, to tackle the root of the problem and inform youngsters about the exciting opportunities the wider construction industry has to offer.

The surveying sector, in particular, has fantastic opportunities for young people to help plan and manage the creation of iconic buildings and infrastructure projects. In order to attract young talent into the fold, RICS has helped create a new Degree Apprenticeship - offering an alternative to the traditional higher education pathways.

The industry is growing, however it must collaborate further to offer a variety of educational pathways to young people in order to ensure this progression is sustainable across the entire built environment industry. RICS welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with industry bodies in other sectors in order to help shape educational programmes like its own Degree Apprenticeship.

Alan Muse, global director of Built Environment Professional Groups at RICS, via email