Skills and Employment Opportunities
The plant industry faces significant skills and employment challenges. There are notable key occupation shortages including Plant Operators, Plant Fitters/Mechanics, and LGV Drivers. The industry requires a range of training and skills development options to address these issues.
Thankfully, the industry is now working collaboratively to address several of these challenges and there is now a range of training and career development options for the industry to utilise and support the skill shortage challenge they face.
The plant industry has a range of apprenticeships that will encourage new talent to take up a career in plant and include construction plant operative, hire controller, lifting technician and construction equipment mechanic.
Alongside apprenticeships, the industry can take advantage of Pre-Apprenticeship and structured work placements. More colleges/providers are providing introductory plant courses, particularly in the West Midlands, due to flexibilities around adult funding.
Further opportunities for accessing talent are available through the new T-Levels (Technical Levels) which have been created by the Government as Technical equivalents to A-Levels. A Construction T-Level has been launched with several pilots around the country.
From September 2020
From September 2021
There are two new Government initiatives to support employment in the UK which the construction/plant industry can benefit from:
Kickstart - Where the Government provides funding to employers to take on a 6-month work placement (with 25 hours a week) giving employers access to new talent and the potential for long-term employment.
Another challenge for the industry is the continued need to upskill the existing workforce to ensure a more productive and healthier workforce. Key areas are mental wellbeing, health, soft skills, technical, communication and leadership training.