two workers on VGC construction site

Ciara writes:

We are looking at ways to manage the impacts of Brexit on infrastructure.

Whatever your views on Brexit, it is likely to restrict the movement of construction workers.

At VGC we are looking at ways to manage the impacts that this may have on the government’s ambitious infrastructure programme.

Recently we carried out a survey of our current labour position for IFF research. They were commissioned by the CITB to look into the use of non-UK origin workers in the UK’s construction sector.

They aim to assess the impact of possible restrictions on new EU workers entering the UK from April 2019 as a result of Brexit; we are awaiting their overall findings.

Some of the main findings from our internal analysis:

  • In 2016, 45% of people who registered their interest to work for VGC in 2016 were migrant workers; of these, 52% were from EU countries – predominantly Ireland, Lithuania and Latvia.
  • In 2016 we saw an increase in the proportion of Romanian workers, while we have fewer people from Poland.
  • 55% of our total workforce holds skilled qualifications such as NVQs.

We anticipate that restrictions on movement of EU workers will result in a shortage of skilled and non-skilled workers. There is a real risk of wage inflation as a consequence.

There will also be an increase in the administrative burden for employers for managing visa compliance, and concern about the flexibility of the labour market if EU citizens have to apply for work visas for full time employment. It is also likely that pockets of the country will be disproportionality affected depending on their workforce composition.

Our plans

VGC is committed to working with industry stakeholders to ensure we have as smooth a transition as possible over the coming years. We are upskilling and multi-skilling our people to ensure we have the talent available to meet our clients’ current and future needs, and to offer our excellent workforce continuity of work.

Our successful apprenticeship programme is helping people into construction. We continue to develop our relationships with colleges, and to offer work experience and placements to interested students.

And our partnership with BuildForce is helping to support ex-services personnel into a rewarding second career in construction and engineer.

We are confident that we are well-placed to meet the needs of our clients during the Brexit transition process and beyond.

Ciara Pryce
Author: Ciara Pryce, group services director
My thanks to Laura Perry, HR manager, for her work in compiling the data for analysis.

 

Read more about how we are investing in our people to support succession planning….

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