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Building services engineering sector needs to diversify to meet future labour de

Building services engineering sector needs to diversify to meet future labour demands

A report by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) indicates that more than a quarter of a million extra workers will be required by 2026 to meet projected growth in the built environment.

Faced with an aging workforce in which more people are retiring than training, Mark Krull from LCL Awards, argues that the industry needs to change its approach, from the training centre up, to encourage people from all walks of life to enter this thriving sector.

"The latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report highlights significant recruitment and training challenges faced by the construction sector, including building services engineering (BSE), as we head further down the pathway to net zero," says Mark.

"Construction employment is predicted to reach a high of 2.78 million by 2026 with an extra 266,000 workers required - an average of 53,200 every year compared to last year's estimated figure of

every year since 2017," Mark continued. "To move our industry forward we need input from people with a range of experiences and backgrounds; from school leavers to adult career changes. To do this, our sector must become more representative of society as a whole."

How can this be achieved?

"The first step in most people's careers is training, so getting this bit right is critical in building confidence, particularly in an industry that might not be considered ‘the norm' for certain groups. For example, 50.59% of the UK population is female, yet fewer than 1% of tradespeople are women.

"Interest amongst women in building services has grown exponentially in recent years, but there are still prejudices and barriers. We've heard stories from female trainees who have experienced seemingly ‘harmless' comments in the classroom - questions regarding their strength to lift a boiler, for example - and women who have had to give up training because the cost and logistics of childcare is too much.

"Outdated attitudes must be nipped in the bud and flexibility of course delivery - exploring, online options and training outside of the nine to five - should be a priority to meet the demands of parents as well as people looking to train alongside fulltime jobs. 

"More society representative classrooms and ultimately, workplaces, should have a knock-on effect with the young people leaving school and college, bumping up the apprenticeship numbers, as well as the other new entrants' routes that are now available. This group has grown up in a more tolerant world and therefore our training centres need to reflect modern attitudes."

Promoting inclusivity in training

"It was in response to these challenges that we developed our Inclusivity Charter, alongside Hattie Hasan MBE, founder of all-female plumbing business, Stopcocks Women Plumbers. We are passionate about demonstrating how LCL Awards centres treat people with respect, while utilising online training options and weekend course delivery, for example, to encourage as many trainees through the doors as possible.

"Ensuring the classroom is a welcoming place to people from all walks of life is key to tackling the skills shortage."

For more information about the Inclusivity Charter and LCL Awards, visit: