Man and woman in high vis vests on construction site

Building the skills Londoners need in construction

10 May 2017

The Mayor wants to make sure all Londoners have the skills they need for the jobs of today – and tomorrow. We spoke to Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and author of the recent review into construction sector labour models, to find out more…

How does the proposed Construction Academy Scheme fit in with the Mayor’s wider Skills for Londoners programme?

There is a direct link between Skills for Londoners, Homes for Londoners – which looks at the Mayor’s housing targets - and the new academy initiative. We won’t be able to build the homes London needs if we don’t have the Londoners with the skills to build them. The Construction Academy scheme will help make sure Londoners get those skills.

Why do we need Skills for Londoners?

Skills for Londoners will take a strategic view of what skills are needed for London’s economy. For example, London has particular issues in terms of construction capacity that could inhibit its ability to build new homes. We have an imperative to train workers so we can meet that need. We must also ensure that training produces the skills required not just for now but the new skills needed for a changing construction industry in the years ahead.

How do we get more young people, and women in particular, to enter construction?

The industry must improve its image to make it more attractive to new entrants, irrespective gender or ethnic background. Part of that will come through modernising how the construction industry works, for example it needs to embrace digital and manufacturing skills that will appeal more to young people and get them interested in a career in construction. 

How can skills devolution help the construction sector?

I think devolving skills funding to the Mayor gives London a chance to deal with its own very specific construction problems. We need more home-grown talent for the sector to draw on and devolution should help London create a sustainable workforce for the capital.