In September the second CLF International Construction Leadership Forum took place, hosted by Scottish Government. The online session focused on knowledge sharing between Scotland and Europe about the future of green skills within the construction sector.
The meeting was chaired by the Managing Director of SELECT and Chair of the CICV, Alan Wilson. In his opening remarks, Alan emphasised the critical role of green skills and strengthening the workforce skills to bring about sector transformation, ready for the journey to net zero.
Unpacking the priorities - CLF’s Skills and Workforce Working Group
The Construction Accord, launched in October 2022, aims to drive change across 12 outcomes, one of which is developing the current and future workforce. Fiona Harper, Director of Skills and Employment at SELECT a member of the CLF Skills and Workforce Working Group, presented the priorities of the group, highlighting integration and the need for a ‘rebranding’ of the construction sector to attract young talent. The discussion delved into challenges such as the representation of trade unionists, the perception of construction as a career choice, and the importance of influencing trusted voices to promote the sector. Emile Quanjel from the Netherlands’ Fieldlab SPARK SCC echoed the need for collaboration and emphasised the role of digitisation in modernising construction.
Inclusive recruitment in construction
The meeting also addressed diversity and inclusion, with Alistair Kerr, Director of the British Association for Supported Employment, discussing sustainable recruitment practices and the employment opportunities for disabled individuals in construction. Other participants raised questions around the need for closer collaboration between public sector buyers and businesses to address the challenges faced by care-experienced individuals entering the sector.
Strategies for attracting young talent and transforming perceptions
Alexander Neuhäuser, Managing Director of ZVEH in Germany, shared insights into the German Meister Program and Building Integrator Apprenticeship where they have successfully attracted many young people into electrical roles by transforming public perceptions. The organisation achieved this through marketing and communication strategies targeting young people, with a focus on social media campaigns and educational resources.
Addressing human capital shortages in the Netherlands
The discussion shifted to the lack of human capital and the ongoing transition in the construction sector among all participants. Emile Quanjel presented a number of innovative approaches that have been implemented in parts of the Netherlands, such as learning communities and regional partnerships, to address challenges around workforce shortages and foster collaboration.
There was then an open discussion where the participants discussed recruitment, diversity, and the role of technology in supporting employment. The importance of innovation and the challenges of introducing new products and services into skills training were some of the key issues they highlighted.
Moreover, the CLF International participants raised that there was a need for certainty and a long-term roadmap to give businesses security that they are investing in the right recruitment efforts, along with the importance of regional approaches and leadership qualifications.
As the meeting drew to a close, Alan Wilson underscored the forum's theme with the phrase, "To be it, you must see it.", driving home that the industry needs pioneers to lead the way, to carve a path and demonstrate the wide-reaching benefits of investing in green skills and the workforce.