Kyle Grigg, apprentice at SMD.

SMD expresses concern at ability to plug skills gap

Published:  24 May, 2017

A 1.7 % sector growth forecast for five years until 2021 means youth is desperately needed, according to SMD, but the number of workers retiring is outstripping new blood.

Dorset-based SMD, which designs, manufactures and installs metal decking systems and associated concrete work, runs an apprenticeship programme, but is also looking at other schemes to plug the skills gap.

SMD’s business development director Dan Williams said: “We are undoubtedly facing challenging times – and this skills shortfall is likely to be magnified in the mid-term. Continuing growth is obviously excellent, but we are going to need a new generation of construction industry workers to keep up with demand.

“At SMD, our apprenticeship scheme brings in young people to learn a trade and gain vital experience while still studying – people who may otherwise have been lost to the industry.

“We are also seeking to develop our existing workforce by supporting them to acquire new skill sets as our industry changes with the times. We must plan for tomorrow by acting today. Anyone not seriously seeking futureproof solutions may well find themselves in serious difficulty.”

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