The dissertation explored the barriers faced by young people, Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), in accessing employment within the construction sector, and those preventing employers engaging with them. In addition, options that may address these barriers will be considered. This dissertation builds on the author’s previous experience in construction and subsequent work in supporting NEETs into employment.
For many years construction has suffered from a skills crisis due, in part, to low numbers entering the industry. A Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) forecast (CITB, 2018b) anticipates around 158,000 additional workers are required between 2018 and 2022 to meet demand. Combined with this is the potential impact of the vote to leave the European Union (EU). Research by the Home Builders Federation Limited (HBF) (HBF, 2017) indicated that a large percentage of the housebuilding workforce comes from the EU. A report on apprenticeships published by CITB (CITB, 2018a), stated that construction was one of the few sectors seeing an increase in apprenticeships, claiming 26,195 apprenticeship starts in 2017. This would deliver around 131,000 new entrants by 2022, 27,000 less than the predicted demand.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) (ONS, 2017) defines NEETs as anybody, aged 16-24, who is not in any of the form of education or training, or employment. Education and training is defined as:
Employment is classified as paid work including part time.
Those not in employment are classed as either unemployed, those who, in the previous four weeks have looked for work and are available to start within the next two, or economically inactive, including students or carers, and who are unable to take up employment.
The ONS identified 808,000 young people, aged 16-24, as NEET, with 39.9% actively seeking employment (ONS, 2018). This would indicate around 322,000 young people whom construction could target. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into construction and youth employment (CIOB, 2016) suggested that it may be possible for the industry to employ between 75,000 – 100,000 of young unemployed.
The suggestion that construction could provide a route away from being NEET was the basis of a cross-party parliamentarians’ inquiry in 2014, and its report ‘No More Lost Generations’ (Chevin, 2014). This reviewed a number of initiatives, identifying that no one solution fits all, a view supported in the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)/Pearson report ‘Routes into Work… it’s Alright for Some’ (2016). In addition, it recognised a number of the potential barriers facing NEETs and employers. The aim of this dissertation is to identify what are the barriers that may impede employment, and what could mitigate their impact.