A report by a team of economists predicts the construction industry will require an additional 76,000 workers over the next four years.
According to CIF President Michael Stone, construction has the potential to become a €20 billion industry by 2020, employing 213,000 workers – making it the largest generator of jobs in all communities around the economy.
But he says this is only possible if there are enough skilled workers in the labour market to meet the demand.
“The construction industry will be an engine for growth and job creation over the next decade”
“Construction companies are delivering high quality projects domestically and internationally and have never offered better opportunities for people to work and build careers”.
“We as an industry are focusing on dramatically increasing the number of apprentices in the industry… We are seeking to establish a Construction Skills Forum involving relevant state agencies and Departments to monitor skills demand and to deliver initiatives to ensure there is an adequate supply of labour to deliver Ireland’s infrastructure, housing and built environment requirements,” he said.
However, there are significant concerns about the availability of workers with the necessary skills to meet the demand, according to the study by DKM economic consultants for the Construction Industry Federation.
There are currently 137,000 people directly employed in construction. However, the number of apprentices is much lower than it was during the boom.
The report says there were 4,400 apprentices across all trades in construction last year compared to 23,700 in 2007.
It says that significant numbers have left the industry or emigrated during the recession.
It adds there may not be enough people with the necessary skills coming out of training and full time education to meet the demand.
The report also says the potential housing requirement could be as high as 42,000 units a year. But it predicts much lower levels will actually be built.
Only 14,000 homes will be built this year, increasing to 20,000 in 2018 and 32,500 by 2020.