Scotland is facing up to the prospect that its construction sector could be vulnerable to a critical shortage of skilled workers in the coming years, as more and more of its ageing workforce take the decision to retire. New figures released by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) showed 35,000 professionals in the sector are aged 55 or over, meaning they will reach retirement age in the next five to ten years. This puts some 19 per cent of the industry's entire staff in this age bracket. Another 25 per cent of construction workers in Scotland are aged between 45 and 54 and will give up work in ten to 20 years. This means the construction industry is in urgent need of younger people who will take their places after gaining the relevant experience and qualifications. Graeme Ogilvy, Scotland director at the CITB, said: "Not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry, and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce, is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s. We urge employers to act now." With this in mind, it could now be time for the authorities and leading bodies from the construction trade to come together in a bid to make the industry a more desirable one to young people. Attracting academics straight from school or university is a particularly shrewd move, as it will open the possibility of them spending their entire professional life in construction, during which time they will be able to hold a number of positions. Until then, the more immediate pressure will fall on construction firms in Scotland to ensure their workforce remains high in both number and quality. This may even force some to offer great deals to existing professionals in the sector in a bid to secure their services.
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