Ian Hughes

Housing is set to lead a modest growth in Scotland’s construction industry over the next five years though more than 10,000 new workers will be required to meet demand, new research has revealed.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has predicted an average annual growth of 0.1% between 2018 and 2022 as a suggested fall in infrastructure work is mitigated by growth in most of the remaining sectors.

According to the training body’s forecast, public housing is set to experience growth of 3.9% each year for the 2018-2022 period, with private housing growing at 2.9%. The Winchburgh Village Development in West Lothian and the Countesswells Housing Development in Aberdeen are examples of live projects during the five year forecast.

Expansion in public and private housing is being driven by the Scottish Government’s target to build 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021. Repair and maintenance of existing buildings is also expected to grow, with a year on year average rise of 2.6%, and 1.7% for non-housing related work.

All sectors, with the exception of infrastructure, commercial and public non-housing, are expected to experience growth, with 10,650 new construction workers needed to meet demand, according to the Construction Skills Network (CSN) report.

Source: CITB Construction Skills Network report

Construction output in Scotland is projected to be stable during 2018-2022, at 0.1% average annual growth per year. Falls in infrastructure work will be mitigated by growth in most of the remaining sectors. In fact, if infrastructure was removed from the Scottish forecast, overall output would average growth of 1.4% a year, the report added.

A small drop in overall employment of 0.7% per year is expected over the forecast period. Despite this, an ageing workforce still means that Scotland needs thousands of new workers. In particular there is a demand for construction trades supervisors, logistics and civil engineers.

Ian Hughes, partnership director at CITB Scotland, said: “The forecast for Scottish construction sees a stable five years to 2022. It is encouraging to see strong growth for housing in particular.

“With over 10,000 new workers needed over the next five years, there remain excellent, rewarding career opportunities in construction. Our modern apprenticeship programme in Scotland continues to go from strength to strength, with over 5000 apprentices currently being trained.  We want to support firms in Scotland to take on more apprentices, to upskill their workforce, and to champion construction as a rewarding lifelong career.”