30th September 2020
Government advisory report identifies skills needs of Irish Built Environment Sector over the decade to 2030
Study identifies nature and potential demand for skills within Construction, Architecture, Engineering and Utilities
9 recommendations to ensure the Sector can deliver on housing, infrastructure and climate change mitigation priorities over next ten years
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD today (30th of September) welcomed a new report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN)- Building Future Skills: The Demand for Skills within Ireland’s Built Environment Sector to 2030.
The Built Environment sector includes a diverse range of activities along a chain from planning to completing and maintaining or renovating built structures and infrastructural developments. These activities are crucial to housing, infrastructural and broader economic development, as well as climate change mitigation. They include those working in companies specialising in: Construction; Architecture; Engineering Services; and Utilities.
The report identifies the skills required by the Built Environment sector over the next decade to deliver on ambitions around housing, infrastructural development and climate change mitigation, as set out in strategies such as Project Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan. Notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, the report highlights how the sector will face consistent demands for its services and pool of skills over the next ten years to deliver on these priorities for Irish society and the Irish economy.
Building Future Skills was informed by a comprehensive consultation exercise with enterprises and key informants from across the Built Environment sector. The report analyses the current structure of the sector in Ireland, its skills base, existing education and training initiatives, international best practice and a range of issues related to the enhancement of built environment skills development in the Irish context.
From a skills perspective, it identifies the need for the sector to address issues around its attractiveness to new entrants, especially women; structural gaps within its workforce arising from the 2008-10 downturn; and the need to embed skills associated with technological change, as well as retrofitting and building energy efficiency, across the sector’s workforce. It also estimates that employment levels within the Built Environment sector (205,400 in late 2019) should be sustainable over the next decade. In 2030 the sector is forecast to account for 7.5% of the total labour force (202,943).
The report sets out nine overarching recommendations, with detailed sub-recommendations, for Built Environment stakeholders to ensure the sector can deliver on the demands that will be placed upon it over the next decade. These actions were developed by a broadly-based Steering Group established to guide the progress of the study. This group was representative of key Built Environment stakeholders from across the public and private sectors.
Welcoming the report Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said:
“As Minister for Further and Higher Education, I welcome this Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report as a vital input into the planning for Built Environment skills needs, which are so crucial to the delivery of Ireland’s housing, infrastructural and climate change priorities and the economy’s wider competitiveness. The National Skills Council, which falls under the remit of my Department, is tasked with prioritising skills needs related to strategic national challenges and securing their delivery through the education and training system. Drawing on the findings of this report, the Council, my Department, and the wider education and training system will do all it can to deliver on the skills needs identified across construction, engineering and architectural activities.”
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said:
“This report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs is an important contribution to the Government’s understanding of the nature and scale of the Built Environment sector’s skills needs over the coming decade - especially as it seeks to deliver on key policies such as Project Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan. The research highlights key drivers of the sector’s skills, talent and entrepreneurial needs over the coming years, such as technological adoption, enhanced productivity and the transition to a low carbon economy - the adaptation to which have been identified by the Government as critical to the ongoing competitiveness and future proofing of Ireland’s economy. Officials from my Department will now engage with the stakeholders identified in the report to progress the EGFSN’s recommendations and optimise the Built Environment’s contribution to Ireland’s competitiveness and broader societal needs over the next decade”.
Chairperson of the Expert Group on Future Skills Need, Tony Donohoe, said:
“This Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report was informed by a comprehensive research exercise across the Built Environment sector. This engagement has informed a set of recommendations for addressing the skills priorities for Built Environment activities over the next ten years, and which, as the report highlights, will require the full commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders for their successful implementation. As well as the important contribution to be made by the State and its agencies, industry itself will also have to ensure a proactive approach to enhancing the quantity and quality of its skills base. The EGFSN welcomes the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s intention to formally progress the implementation of the report’s recommendations with relevant Built Environment stakeholders across the public and private sectors”.
The full report, Building Future Skills: The Demand for Skills within Ireland’s Built Environment Sector to 2030, is available on the website of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (www.egfsn.ie) and the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/).
Recommendations from the report
Coordinated campaign from Industry, with support from education and training providers and Government, to promote careers in the Built Environment sector
Examine the scope for reforms to Built Environment education, training and qualifications (including apprenticeship)
Align skills with technological change
Develop the skills to enhance the Built Environment’s contribution to climate change mitigation
Development of and increased engagement with Entrepreneurial and Management Skills Training within the Built Environment sector
Place the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) on a statutory footing
Assess the merits of developing a ‘Skills Passport’ for Built Environment activities, to facilitate the recognition of skills or competencies
Explore the use of the procurement process to influence skills development
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of Built Environment Skills
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About the EGFSN
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) advises the Irish Government on the current and future skills needs of the economy and on other labour market issues that impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. It has a central role in ensuring that labour market needs for skilled workers are anticipated and met.
The Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluations Division within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment provides the EGFSN with research and analysis support.
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