OFTEC has launched a drive to encourage more young people to join the building services sector to address the growing skills shortage.
It refers to both the Confederaton of Business Industry and a recent KMPG and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry report that suggested 20% more tradespeople are needed within the next four years to meet UK infrastructure targets.
However, it also quoted government statistics showing that 70,000 fewer apprenticeships were started in the 2013/14 academic year compared with the previous 12 months, and added that too many people viewed vocational roles as “second class”.
“Equipping school leavers with professional skills and qualifications provides them with a key to a secure and rewarding future,” said technical director Adrian Lightwood.
“The government has made some good inroads to encourage businesses to invest in trainees and apprenticeships, but industry, education and employers need to work together to encourage many more youngsters to take this route.”
He added that the drop in oil price meant that the oil heating sector was looking strong.
Mr Lightwood also referred to the benefits of OFTEC membership, including options for self-certification and technical updates to help engineers keep up to date with industry developments.
“By encouraging a new generation of technicians equipped with the right skills and a pride in carrying out their best work, we can help to ensure the skills gap is plugged and the industry moves from strength to strength,” he said.