ConstructionSkills has released its latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts for the 2012-2016 period. The Sector Skills Council (SSC) highlights that whilst the Northern Ireland construction industry has continued to underperform compared to the rest of the UK, there is a slight growth in output and employment predicted throughout the forecast period.
The CSN report, delivered in conjunction with construction employers across the UK, with a significant input from Northern Ireland employers, shows that the annual average output in Northern Ireland is projected to expand at a rate of 2.1 per cent over the five years to 2016, a stronger rate than for the UK as a whole (1.4 per cent). However the industry in the province will be recovering from a much steeper drop in output than the UK as a whole (31 per cent compared with 16 per cent).
Barry Neilson, Chief Executive, CITB-ConstructionSkills NI, said: “ The past few years have been really tough for the construction sector but as the CSN forecasts show there will be a slight growth in output for Northern Ireland. As output in the Northern Ireland construction industry had declined significantly over recent years it is promising to see growth forecasted over the four year period. Despite the predicted growth in output over the forecast period, output in the construction industry in NI will not have reached its 2007-8 level and so in four years time we will still not have achieved full recovery.”
Employment in the local construction sector is projected to slowly grow at an annual average rate of 1.3 per cent between 2012 and 2016. This is a better rate than the UK as a whole (0.6% per annum) but as with output, employment in the construction industry in NI is recovering from a much greater fall from its peak in 2007 than in the overall UK (28 per cent compared with 10 per cent). With a tentative recovery in private sector housing expected to begin in 2012 and the impact of the Programme for Government, the CSN data estimates that the industry in NI will have an average annual recruitment requirement of 1,170 jobs to complete planned projects over the forecast period.
Barry Neilson added: “Whilst the forecast predictions highlight a slight growth, the construction sector still is a long way from full recovery. The draft Programme for Government has outlined the key capital projects that the Northern Ireland Executive plan to take forward and we welcome investment in these areas. However there are more and more construction businesses that have ceased trading and have not been able to ride the economic storm.
“CITB-ConstructionSkills NI is working harder than ever with the industry to maximise the highest return for its investment. We have invested in various training interventions alongside our industry partners, such as the federations and industry bodies, which are working hard to identify and meet the needs of their members. We know that to help the survival of the sector we need to embrace new skills to support the low carbon agenda and modular construction.
“These are difficult times and it is the skills and qualifications of our workforce that will help us survive. It is our aim to be as flexible as possible in working with the industry to identify and develop these skills.”
For further information on CITB-ConstructionSkills NI telephone
028 9082 5466 or visit www.citbcsni.org.uk