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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07316: Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to address that 30% of the construction workforce in Scotland is reported to be aged 50 or over.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 16 March 2017

In its Construction Skills Network Report published last month, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has forecast that industry will need 12,000 new construction workers in Scotland over the next five years to meet demand.

To meet this predicted demand, Skills Development Scotland are funding high numbers of quality Modern Apprenticeships in construction. These are available across all of the construction sector, and at all levels including technical and professional roles.

In 2015-16 Skills Development Scotland funded 4,895 Modern Apprenticeship starts in construction and related occupations – approximately 19% of the total of all Modern Apprenticeship starts. Skills Development Scotland have also consulted with the industry on expanding the Modern Apprenticeship programme to support the Scottish Government ambition of 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships by 2020.

In addition, the industry, working with Skills Development Scotland, is working to promote construction as a career of choice through a range of activities resulting from the Construction Skills Investment Plan aimed at attracting talent, building career pathways and modernising training. There is a clear commitment by the industry to continue to train apprentices where possible and support the successful Modern Apprenticeship programme. New Foundation and Graduate Level apprenticeships are now also available in the sector.

Clearly, the UK Government’s plans to drag Scotland out of the EU and the single market will potentially restrict the free movement of workers within Europe and may exacerbate skills shortage. This is one reason why Scottish Government has put forward credible proposals to UK Ministers to maintain Scotland’s concerns to the single market for trade as well as in ability to fill skills shortages.