Having interrogated the CITB Construction Skills Network data it’s estimated 266,000 people are employed in the construction occupations of the finishes and interiors sector.  To sustain this there’s an Annual Recruitment Requirement of approximately 6052 people per year to 2027.  As there are approximately 10,000 organisations working in the sector that’s 1.65 people per organisation, or if every FIS member took on one new entrant per year that would meet one tenth of the estimated requirement.  The recent FIS Skills Pulse Survey shows 45.5% of respondents are currently experiencing labour shortages and do not feel there will be any improvement in recruitment for the next 12 months.

It’s certainly no longer feasible to think other bigger organisations with more resource will train enough people to go round.  People poaching, the act of tempting or accepting newly qualified individuals away from the organisation that supported the training for a pound or so more, is rife within the finishes and interiors sector.  Evidence shows people poaching contributes to a decline in the quality of workmanship as these individuals although qualified often do have the full range of experience needed by the sector and without the ‘safety net’ of the people who trained, coached and mentored them mistakes are inevitable.

Apprenticeships are the employers preferred training and qualification option for new entrants.  As an indication here are the figures for two occupations in the sector 2022 to 2023, due to the duration of the training programmes successful achievements are not shown:

Nation Route Registration Numbers
England Interior Systems Installer 220
Plasterer 900
Scotland Interior Systems 81
Plastering 65
Wales Interior Systems 28
Plastering 121
  Total 1415

This is approximately 80% of the estimated Annual Recruitment Rate for these two occupations reinforcing the drive needed by employers to ensure there will be enough competent people to complete work coming up through to 2027.  If you have never taken on a apprentice there is a raft of free support available from recruitment to funding and the rewards for an organisation can be unlimited.  To help decision making have a read of the FIS Apprentice – Guidance for Employers available to download here You will likely be surprised at the options and what is there, free of charge, to help employers.

The current business environment is making it more challenging to invest in the training and qualifications needed to ensure a future workforce for the sector, but if organisations don’t step up now what is it going to be like in the years ahead.  Everyone knows investing in training can bring competitive advantages, helping businesses to retain and attract more workers and to ensure they have an upskilled workforce to win new work is a focus for FIS.  With increased legislative demands for proof of competence at every occupational level the FIS Sector Guide to Competency Management Plans: https://www.thefis.org/skills-hub/competency/ can help organisations avoid falling foul of the law.

If you are still undecided and would like to talk through taking on a new entrant, general recruitment or upskilling your workforce give FIS a call on 0121 707 0077.