Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (December 22nd) published the Report on the Analysis of Skills for Residential Construction & Retrofitting 2023–2030.
A priority action under Housing for All, the Report identifies the construction skills needs from the further education and training and higher education sector to meet housing and retrofitting targets outlined in Housing for All and the National Retrofit Plan.
The Report forecasts a need for 50,831 new entrants into the construction sector, from professional, craft, operative and other trade routes.
The Minister also published a corresponding tertiary action plan to meet the targets outlined, which was developed in collaboration with SOLAS and the Higher Education Authority.
The Minister said: “The Report is an important tool in forecasting our skills needs and identifying gaps, and considers how the sector might grow up to 2030.
“Each element of our education system is crucial to providing us with a skilled and competent workforce to achieve the targets outlined in Housing for All and the National Retrofit Plan.
“Thankfully, we are on track to meet the workforce needs between now and 2025 but there are areas additional actions are needed.
“There have been almost 1,900 enrolments in retrofitting courses this year. Three centres of excellence have opened, and courses are also being delivered in Cork ETB and Mayo-Sligo-Leitrim ETB with another due to open in Finglas next year. The capacity is there and we now must examine how we can create the demand for these positions.”
The Minister outlined the steps his Department would take in supporting the education and training sector, as well as other Departments, in meeting targets outlined in Housing for All.
“To meet our housing targets, we will need to continue to expand capacity in training for construction apprenticeships, including a focus on high-demand apprenticeships such as the electrical programme.
“In addition, we will continue working with colleagues in other Departments to host national and international recruitment fairs for the Irish diaspora and construction workers in EU member states and other third countries.
“My Department will continue to work with partners to support the movement of workers from commercial to residential construction as an important source of labour supply to meet the additional demand.
“As we continue to adopt modern methods of construction, it is anticipated this will play a key role in reducing labour demands over the coming years.”
The Government also approved the publication of the draft Construction Safety Licensing Bill. The Bill will provide for the establishment of a licensing authority to oversee a new licensing model for those skilled activities which are currently certified under the Construction Safety Certificate Scheme and the Quarrying Safety Certificate Scheme.
Minister Harris added: “The licensing model’s core aims are to ensure our workers are competent to undertake activities, that there is a legislative basis for reassessment, and that a high standard of health and safety awareness is maintained within the construction sector.
“Since the approval and publication of the General Scheme of the Bill in September this year, we have introduced provisions around offences for fraudulently obtaining licenses, and for non-adherence to standards for licensed tutors and approved training organisations.
“We have engaged with colleagues in a number of Departments throughout the development of this draft Bill and this will continue as we progress through the legislative process.
“This Bill will be significant in further embedding health and safety in the training of our construction workers, so as to enhance their safety and competency on site.”
Read the full report here