The ECITB has launched a new strategy to support growth in the engineering construction industry, as it forecasts 25,000 new workers will be needed to support energy transition projects by 2025.
Launched Tuesday, the new strategy sees the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) pledge more than £87m to support training and tackle labour shortages and skills gaps over the next three years.
The plan, running from 2023-25, is aimed at helping bring talented new entrants with foundation skills into industry as well as support ongoing training and the reskilling of workers moving from other sectors.
It comes as the organisation expects “a looming workforce and skills crisis.”
The ECITB forecasts 25,000 additional workers are needed for major projects by 2026, including those related to net zero, which will put employers in direct competition for labour from £650bn of infrastructure projects in the wider UK economy.
The UK government’s Energy Security Strategy has further increased this pressure, as the engineering construction supply chain rushes to expand to meet new energy generating capacity targets.
Developed following consultation with industry, training providers and UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, the latest strategy builds on measures enacted by the ECITB to secure skills during the pandemic.
£73m will be allocated towards training grants over the next strategy period. 52% will fund ongoing training, upskilling and reskilling, while the remaining 48% will support new entrants to start careers in industry via a variety of different pathways.
Projects span a range of sectors including nuclear new build and decommissioning, renewables, oil and gas, water treatment and food and drink.
They will also include hydrogen and carbon capture projects linked to the decarbonisation of the UK’s industrial clusters.
ECITB chief executive Chris Claydon said: “The engineering construction industry and its supply chain companies design, deliver and decommission many of England, Scotland and Wales’s critical infrastructure projects, and therefore is central to the nation’s energy security and energy transition ambitions.”
Mr Claydon said the strategy has prioritised support for new entrants and new pathways to industry in anticipation of the forecast labour shortages and will fund training to bridge skills gaps through support for new training around net zero projects, including digital skills.
“In developing the strategy, the ECITB has listened closely to employers, training providers, government representatives and other key stakeholders. We aim to deliver what industry has said it needs – a focus on attracting and developing new talent and the provision of high-quality training across Britain,” he added.
“For the ECITB, our mission to lead industry learning has never been more important than it is now.”