The RICS quarterly construction market survey suggests a positive outlook for the rest of this year.
However, skills shortages are still a major issue.
55% of the people who responded to the survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) expect workloads to continue to rise. This is fewer than the same period last year. Although growth in the construction sector has slowed, there is a solid pipeline of new orders.
Private housing and commercial sectors continue to drive growth, but public sector construction workloads are growing more slowly.
Skill shortages continue to bite – 59% of respondents said that they are a concern, particularly bricklayers and quantity surveyors. Skill shortages have meant that earnings have risen, and half of the people responding said that the rise in labour costs has driven prices up. 41% of people expect their companies to grow.
Markets in the Midlands and the north are growing, driven by private housing and commercial growth; however Northern Ireland is slower.
At VGC we are continuing to tackle the skills shortage with training and development of our existing workforce. We are also running a major apprenticeship programme, offering NVQ level 2 and 3 placements in skills including construction operations, and track maintenance and engineering.