Society is full of unsung heroes, but after the release this week of a new report by housing charity Shelter there is a strong argument for adding the construction worker to that list.
The report by the charity has laid bare the severity of the “housing crisis” facing the country, a crisis it says can only be addressed by building three million new social homes in England over the next two decades. It is an ambitious target that ultimately will not be achieved by politicians, but by the construction industry and its workers.
Homlessness is a cause close to our hearts at Chameleon School of Construction, and we have long supported charities such as our local YMCA. This meant the Shelter report made for upsetting reading for us, highlighting that the loss of rented accommodation is the primary cause of the estimated 277,000 cases of homelessness in England. Shelter say that 1.2 million homes are needed for younger families who cannot afford to buy and are facing a lifetime in expensive and insecure private renting. The Government aims to build 250,000 new homes in the next three years, including homes for social rent. Shelter say this is not enough to tackle the problem, and that existing schemes like Help to Buy are an ineffective use of taxpayers’ money with total savings of £60billion possible over 30 years by building the number of social housing required to make renting cheaper.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is one of sixteen independent commissioners responsible for authoring the report, and he said, “In the years after the Second World War, governments – Labour and Conservative – built about 120,000 social homes and council houses every year. In the last 20 years or so we’ve built 20,000 social homes per year and that is one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis.”
However, if any of these homes are to be built it requires skilled construction workers to do so, and the industry is currently facing a worsening skills shortage. It is estimated that around 158,000 new construction jobs will be created over the next three years to keep up with current demand, but with an ageing workforce and new recruits into the industry being outnumbered by those retiring it is a crisis that is in danger of rapidly worsening.
So, the message is clear – Your Country Needs You – and the construction industry offers not just the possibility of long-term career prospects, but the chance to make a real positive contribution to society by helping to address a national crisis and build desperately needed homes.
The first step into the construction industry for many is gaining a CSCS card, and at Chameleon School of Construction we operate a CITB-approved testing facility. For those wanting to learn a construction skill we also offer Level 1 and Level 2 CSkills Diploma courses in Plastering, Bricklaying, and Wall & Floor Tiling. We have centres in Swadlincote, Burton on Trent, Ripley, Pinxton, and Chesterfield, and have full funding available for our courses for people of all ages.
To find out how we can help you progress in the construction industry please call 01283 213427, our team would love to hear from you.