MORE must be done to encourage York teenagers to pursue a career in construction, a new report has said.
The industry faces a huge shortage of young employees and apprentices and is looking at ways to increase the intake of workers.
There is a particular need to encourage more girls and young women to pursue construction-related work, the report says.
York schools are said to have been slow to promote the industry in recent years, while the economic crisis has stalled development, but a City of York Council says more should be done now, given the number of major building projects in the pipeline in York.
The council wants 22,000 new homes to be built in the city over the next 15 years and major developments are planned at the former Terry's and British Sugar factories, and on part of the Nestlé site
A council task group has been reviewing the issue for the past eight months and its findings will go before the ruling cabinet next Tuesday.
The task group, made up of councillors Andy D'Agorne, Neil McIlveen and Joe Watt concluded that "all indications point to a boom in the construction industry in York" but said: "Employers acknowledged there was a major skills gap in York and they were struggling to recruit skilled staff. Many were committed to taking on apprentices but this training took two or three years and apprentices are not able to satisfy the immediate requirements."
The group said York had positive systems in place, through the YorCity Construction’s Skills Model, which created training opportunities.
The councillors said: "The construction industry needs to be better promoted in schools as a worthwhile career with a wide variety of jobs available from tradespeople to professional, technical and commercial and sales positions."
They added: "More needs to be done to attract women into the construction industry, not just in an office environment but at all levels."
Kevin Clancy, head of division for construction at York College said a new construction centre at York College’s main site will be opening in September 2015, providing easy access for school leavers, apprentices, adult learners and “for people wanting to up-skill or change their current skills to work within the construction industry”.
Mr Clancy said: “York College offers training for the CSCS green card - the card construction workers require to gain access on construction sites. This is very valuable for anyone wanting to enter the construction industry.”
With regards to the representation of women in the industry, Mr Clancy said that about three per cent of students are female of “approximately 500” studying construction crafts at the college.