Under the government’s Housing for All plan, 33,000 new housing units are to be delivered each year to 2030. To meet this, it is estimated that the total housing construction labour demand will need to rise from approximately 40,000 full-time equivalent workers at its 2019/2020 level, to 67,500 workers by the middle of the decade. This represents the need for 27,500 additional construction sector workers over five years. Currently, 7,500 workers are needed in the sector each year.
Minister for social protection, Heather Humphreys, and minister for further & higher education, research, innovation & science, Simon Harris, announced the Housing for All Future Building Initiative.
This initiative will result in the two government departments and related agencies joining forces to spearhead recruitment for the construction sector and drive internal projects to support the work. A new unit that includes includes staff with expertise in recruitment and training has been established to oversee the initiative.
Humphreys said: “There are now fewer people on the Live Register than pre-pandemic. This clearly shows that the government’s Pathways to Work strategy is delivering but of course we must always strive to do more.
“Construction is a sector where we know there are huge numbers of job opportunities. Through the new Future Building initiative, we will be working directly with jobseekers, supporting them through training and skills development and matching them with employers.
“This is part of a major recruitment drive in the construction sector. Later this month, I will also launch a specific Construction Work and Skills week which will see almost 40 events held nationally to promote jobs, training and apprenticeships in construction and associated careers.”
Harris said: “We clearly have a housing crisis driven by a shortage in supply. However, as supply increases, we need to ensure we have enough people to match the demand.
“This will mean supporting the industry in returning existing workers to full employment and a significant ramp-up in education and training opportunities, including commitments regarding programmes and apprenticeships and delivery of new courses.
“This new Future Building Initiative will see people from training agencies across the country working with Intreo in the Department of Social Protection to identify people for direct placement into employment in the sector and for referral to relevant education and training opportunities.”
The initiative will:
- lead the work with Construction Industry Federation, other sectoral representatives and individual employers to identify recruitment needs (by location, skillset);
- conduct skills analysis of unemployed/inactive people at a regional/ local level to identify and prioritise training opportunities;
- identify people who previously worked in the construction sector and communicate employment opportunities in the construction sector to these workers;
- work with education and training agency Solas/ETBs to identify and engage with those with prior sector-relevant training experience;
- work with Solas/ETBs to progress opportunities for jobseekers arising from Green Skills Action Programme;
- use the EURES programme, funded by the EU Commission, to attract and support social mobility of workers from across the EU/EEA to jobs in Ireland.