The Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has released a white paper on bridging the skills gap

The paper, written by Jeremy Towler, senior manager, energy and smart technologies, BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence, looked at how to: incentivise; communicate; build skills; start young and promote diversity.
The paper suggests that there are too many members of government without an engineering background, and are therefore disconnected from the industry. Furthermore, the paper argues that schools do not promote engineering early enough, and also cites a poor link between schools and further education through technical colleges and apprenticeships.
Julia Evans, chief executive, BSRIA, said: ‘Schools need to be incentivised on the number of students they get into apprenticeships and technical colleges, and not just the number that they get into university. Government can help industry to communicate better to make engineering more interesting. We need to move the focus away from one of being a ‘construction industry’ to one focussed on ‘the built environment’. This will help to make it more attractive to young people who, for example, have grown up with software gaming and modelling.’
On the issue of diversity, Julia said: ‘Government needs to help industry to find ways to be more inclusive in all demographic aspects, to attract more diversity into our industry and to raise the status of engineers – if necessary, through some form of incentivisation.’
Julia added: ‘Government can help ensure that apprenticeships are not just an excuse for cheap labour, but are well-structured and prepare individuals for a meaningful and rewarding career.’
The paper was developed for BSRIA’s Diamond Group Forum 6/2015. BSRIA’s Diamond Group consists of a BSRIA network of senior executives.
For more information, visit: www.bsria.co.uk

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