Stewart Milne launches skilled trades campaign
The founder and executive chairman of Stewart Milne Group has launched a campaign to get trades taken more seriously and become more valued across the country.
Stewart Milne is concerned that a shortage of qualified tradespeople is constraining the predicted upturn in house building and construction.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has estimated that 182,000 qualified tradespeople are required in the next five years to meet demand in the UK.
Mr Milne’s group has already created 160 jobs this year and is seeking to recruit a further 250 people by the end June 2015.
The majority of these positions are for skilled tradespeople such as electricians, joiners and bricklayers. Almost half of its 800-strong workforce are tradespeople and a further 2,000 are employed as subcontractors.
Launching a campaign to highlight vital role of trades in construction growth, he said the industry is gearing up to address the significant undersupply of new homes in recent years but it faces a skills shortage.
His company has a significant number of new developments across Scotland and the north west of England and he declared: “This is a great time to be considering a trade as a future career.”
The campaign aims to encourage respect for the trades and promote a trade as a route into an exciting career path.
Mr Milne, who began his career as an electrician, said: “There is still a negative perception of tradespeople in this country.
“It used to be that if you were not capable of, or interested in, going on to further education, you took up a trade.
“Tradespeople are highly skilled and should be highly valued.
“Our own tradespeople and our extensive network of subcontractors will have a critical role to play as our group prepares to significantly increase housing developments and meet growing demand from the homes and construction sectors for our timber systems solutions.”
Mr Milne, who is also chairman of Aberdeen FC, called for more to be done to attract people into a trade, which should be seen as a means of progression and not a one-dimensional career.
”Many of our qualified tradespeople have gone on to become contracts or site managers,” he added.
“Many of the directors have worked their way up and we continue to encourage people to do this.”
Mr Milne and colleagues will lobby industry bodies and government to take pride in the trades, and the message will be presented at schools, colleges and business events.
Phil Ford, strategic partnerships director for CITB Scotland, said: “CITB Scotland fully supports the Stewart Milne Group’s campaign to get trades taken more seriously and become more valued across the country.
“We are also very active in this area, managing a number of innovative projects and initiatives which all aim to address the issue of potential skills shortages in the future.
“While CITB Scotland’s own figures show that the number of new apprentices joining the industry increased in 2014, it is only through partnership working like this that we will be able to continue to position construction as an attractive career option.”