Managing Director Richard Bateman has spoken in the media about his concern about the chronic lack of skills in our region.
The company could take on more projects if it could recruit the right skilled people. It was a problem thwarting greater growth.
“This isn’t a problem restricted to the groundworks; it is a problem being felt across the whole of the construction industry at every level, from site labourer to board level. There is a skills shortage across the whole industry today.”
“We started the year working on 11 projects and will end this year with 18 or 19,” Mr Bateman said. “There is a desperate need for new housing at the moment and I fear that the recruitment problems we are experiencing are only going to get worse over the coming years.
“Realistically, we could be doing far more if we knew we could recruit more of the right staff. There are just not enough people with the right skills. It is as simple as that.
“We have never had such a problem with the skills gap to the extent we are currently experiencing. My fear is that, as bad as it is now, by the time we get to the end of 2017, the problem will be worse.”
Despite offering salaries “at the top end,” recruiting experienced staff was getting increasingly difficult, he said.
“Our expectation is that the volume of work will increase and the number of units will increase and the skills situation will be worse across the industry.”
Many Bateman Groundworks employees were over 50 and under 22, he said. “The problem exists in the 25-55 age group. We could offer posts for 50 young people but that would drown us because every apprentice needs a mentor.”
Plans to recruit ex-military and foreign nationals feature in plans to address the issue.