MORE THAN 10,000 new workers will be needed over the next five years due to growth in Scotland’s construction industry, it has been predicted.

According to a new forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), public housing is set to experience growth of 3.9 per cent each year for the 2018-2022 period, with private housing growing at 2.9 per cent.

All sectors, with the exception of infrastructure, commercial and public non-housing, are expected to experience growth, with 10,650 new construction workers needed to meet demand, according to the Construction Skills Network (CSN) report.

Expansion in public and private housing is being driven by the Scottish Government’s target to build 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

The Winchburgh Village Development in West Lothian and the Countesswells Housing Development in Aberdeen are examples of live projects during the five year forecast. Repair and maintenance of existing buildings is also expected to grow, with a year on year average rise of 2.6 per cent, and 1.7 per cent for non-housing related work. Construction output in Scotland is projected to be stable during 2018-2022, at 0.1 per cent average annual growth per year. Falls from a record high in infrastructure work will be mitigated by growth in most of the remaining sectors. In fact, if infrastructure were removed from the Scottish forecast, overall output would average growth of 1.4 per cent a year.

A small drop in overall employment of 0.7 per cent per year is expected over the forecast period. Despite this, an ageing workforce still means that Scotland needs thousands of new workers. In particular there is a demand for construction trades supervisors, logistics and civil engineers.

“The forecast for Scottish construction sees a stable five years to 2022,” said Ian Hughes, partnership director at CITB Scotland. “It is encouraging to see strong growth for housing in particular.

“With over 10,000 new workers needed over the next five years, there remain excellent, rewarding career opportunities in construction. Our modern apprenticeship programme in Scotland continues to go from strength to strength, with over 5000 apprentices currently being trained. We want to support firms in Scotland to take on more apprentices and to upskill their workforce.”

However, the report reveals a mixed picture across the devolved nations and English regions. Wales continues to perform best with output growth estimated at 4.6 per cent per year. Scotland is likely to remain largely static at 0.1 per cent, with housing growth mitigating a decline in infrastructure from record highs.

In Northern Ireland, annual growth is down from last year’s 1.6 per cent forecast to 0.5 per cent, largely attributable to a slackening of the commercial sector.

In England, the North West and South West lead the growth rankings, both with two per cent growth anticipated. The West Midlands is also expected to perform well with an overall average output of 1.8 per cent over the five years. For the remainder of the English regions growth is predicted to range between 1.5 per cent in Greater London to -0.8 per cent in the North East.

Overall in the UK, more than 150,000 construction jobs are set to be created over the next five years.