The perils of a narrow focus and its effect on growth

There is always going to be a need for certain skills regardless of technological change yet somehow over the last couple of decades many trades have been ignored or forgotten in the push to get more young people into university.

As a result there is a significant shortage of many skilled tradesmen and women.

One example is the construction industry, both for new building and the maintenance of existing property. We all know there is an urgent need for more housing and that this is fueling a rise in property prices beyond the affordability levels.

For some time now, we have been hearing that local tradesmen such as, builders, plumbers, painters and decorators, are booked up for months ahead. Many jobs and postings on local social media forums ask for anyone prepared to work in the building industry.

This demand is similar for both small and large construction companies, most of which are growing but cannot recruit enough skilled people.

Despite economic recovery, we are in a position where past narrow thinking has led to the possibility that growth in construction risks being stifled by its inability to find enough skilled people to meet the demand. And if a domestic emergency arises with the plumbing this winter it may be a challenge to find someone to deal with it.

What other sectors do you know of that are experiencing similar problems and how are they addressing the skills-shortage problem?

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