Labouring a point

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell responds to the latest news from the ECITB.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has identified a growing skills crisis exacerbated by an ageing workforce and low supply of appropriately trained new starters.

Employers believe the skills gap will either stay the same (43%) or get worse (44%) over the next three years. The research also shows that 31% of employees are over 50, but only 12% are under 25.

Of course, we know this. Each month in the printed magazine, I dedicate several pages to the problem that our industry has in recruiting skilled labour. I also highlight the excellent work that some in this industry are doing in facing up to the challenge of recruiting and training staff.
In fact, at the same time that I received the news from ECITB I also received news from Avantek Machinery and The Window Company (Contracts) about their own successful programmes.

Avantek described how it has celebrated its second-ever apprentice finishing his course at the company, while The Window Company (Contracts) describes several initiatives, including appointing two ex-service personnel into full time roles.

Yes, these efforts (alongside a number of other companies in the glass and glazing industry) are worth a feather in the cap, but as The Window Company (Contracts)’ company chairman David Thornton said, “this isn’t just about being seen to do the right thing – it’s about identifying people with talent and potential who we think can succeed within our team”.

At the end of the day, if you are prepared to investment in larger premises, a new fleet, and the latest machinery, then you need to also invest in the people to run it for you.