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Future needs for skills and competences in the construction sector

This study analyses the future needs for skills and competences in enterprises of the construction sector, in particular with a view of improving the sector's uptake of new technology and innovations to develop its competitiveness. Considering the very large number of SMEs, incl. micro enterprises and self-employed in the sector, particular attention is given to their needs and abilities to address skills shortages in an efficient manner.

The contract to carry out the study was awarded to:

The Danish Technological Institute (DTI)
Gregersensvej, 2630 Taastrup, Denmark

Based on identification and assessment of the main drivers for the future of the sector, the contractor elaborated four possible scenarios for its future and its implications for the development of skills needs in the medium term (until 2020). An analysis of the current setup related to provision of construction sector training and education in four representative EU-countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, UK) was undertaken, looking at the main challenges for the future in each of these systems. Subsequently, some 20 good practice examples, all across the EU, were identified and analysed. Based on these previous steps, the main output of the assignment, a hands-on practical strategy for upgrading skills and competences in the construction sector was developed.

The future scenarios in the report underline the risk that inadequate interventions to improve innovation and productivity in the construction sector might lead to the sector drifting into undesirable scenarios where the companies have limited capacity and incentives to improve competitiveness through innovation, workforce development and putting high premium on quality. In line with the Lisbon Strategy, a scenario where companies pursue competitive advantage through focusing on innovation, quality, sustainability, competence development, and attractive working conditions is sought for. Thus, framework conditions and regulatory components must support competitive strategies putting a high premium on quality, innovation, and sustainability. This will require investments in workforce development and innovative work organisations, practices that are endorsed by the social partners and the public across the Member States.

The proposed strategy is divided into three main parts each addressing an overall key objective:

  1. Attract and retain a qualified workforce
  1. Enhance the development of human capital in the European construction sector
  1. Improve and "future-proof" skills strategies

The Commission organised in March 2009 an evaluation and validation workshop to present the draft results of the study and to ask for the views of stakeholders on the study's conclusions. The final report was finalized in July 2009.

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