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Sat August 08 2020

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State-backed portal takes on construction recruitment sector

9 Jul Construction industry organisations have given their support to a new state recruitment portal – an online jobs board – to compete with all the private sector ones.

The Talent Retention Scheme is a government-backed jobs website
The Talent Retention Scheme is a government-backed jobs website

Despite there already being dozens (hundreds?) of specialist jobs websites and hundreds (thousands?) of recruitment agencies. The government and its Construction Leadership Council reckon that the scale of redundancies now threatening the industry requires special interventionist measures by the state.

The construction talent retention scheme is described as “a partnership between the government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector”.

The scheme is a website, expected to become functional later this month, where people looking for jobs can upload their CV and credentials. Anyone looking to recruit can post their own vacancies or contact jobseekers directly, with no third party 10 percenter taking a cut.  The government has agreed to fund all services provided by the TRS until April 2021, making it free to use until then.

At some stage in the future, however, privatisation seems inevitable, making it just another jobs notice board.

The construction talent retention scheme is a bolt-on to a wider talent retention scheme with portals for manufacturing, engineering and technology as well as construction.

Construction Leadership Council (CLC) co-chair Andy Mitchell said: “This is a great example of what we can achieve when we work collaboratively with government and we look forward to continuing in this spirit when the proposals and recommendations of our broader Roadmap to Recovery are published. In the meantime we will work with our members and industry stakeholders to encourage the scheme’s use and success.”

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds, who leads the CLC’s skills workstream said that the new jobs board was “a critical lifeline for the construction industry” and “a great example of government and industry collaboration during these challenging times for the construction sector”.

The recruitment industry will have to brace itself for a hit if the portal works well but construction industry organisations seem to think it is a great idea to support jobs.

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Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) chief executive Hannah Vickers said: “This is a proven solution with a strong track-record in other sectors, cross-industry support and pledges from our leading employers. It is vital we keep the skills in our sector to avoid a talent drain and is the only way we will be able to ramp-up activity to lead the recovery of the wider economy and deliver growth through new buildings and infrastructure.”

Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will safeguard our sector, which is both highly skilled and requires the retention of skills to operate at its full potential.

“CECA is fully supportive of the construction talent retention scheme and anticipates it will be key to ensuring that where there are unavoidable job losses as a result of the end of the furlough scheme in October, employees will be able to find new employment within our industry.

“We have been working with the CLC and other stakeholder to bring this initiative to fruition. That the government has chosen to implement it not only shows an awareness of the scale of the challenge we face in returning the economy to growth, but the role UK construction will play in doing so in the months and years ahead.”

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is also full square behind it. John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Covid-19 has already had an impact and we are seeing businesses having to reduce their workforce.  We need to keep the skills built up over many years within the industry in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery.

 “The CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme, alongside the financial measures announced by the chancellor to encourage businesses to employ and train young people and provide quality apprenticeships, will help to retain our talent base and redeploy their skills across the entire sector as well as well moving to secure the future by investing in the next generation.

 “This is a proven programme, with no cost for users, that is supported by the entire construction industry bringing significant scope and scale to its successful delivery. We will be promoting the CTRS online portal extensively within the building materials sector and encouraging BMF merchant and supplier members to register their interest so they are fully up to speed when the portal goes live.”

The scheme remains in development, but when it goes live it will be at www.trs-system.co.uk/construction

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