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Carpenters and joiners required as housing sector facing dearth of workers

The construction industry will have to recruit a worker every 77 seconds over the next few years to build the houses and infrastructure the UK needs, according to a new report.

Around 400,000 plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, quantity surveyors and other tradesmen and women will have to be taken on every year up to 2021, it was estimated.

Most of the workers will be taken on in the housing sector, said consultants Arcadis, adding the greatest need will be for carpenters and joiners.

James Bryce of Arcadis, said the construction industry was facing a skills " gulf", adding: "Systemic underinvestment in the nation's workforce has contributed to a reduction in UK productivity.

"Construction employment is already down 15% on 2008 and, quite simply, if we don't have the right people to build the homes and infrastructure we need, the UK is going to struggle to maintain its competitive position in the global economy.

"Overcoming a skills shortfall as vast as the one we now face can't be achieved through education and technology alone.

"Of course, we need to bring more new talent into the industry but construction will also need to look at those currently working in other industries and dramatically improve its efficiency."

A Communities and Local Government Department spokesman said: "We've got this country building again, with nearly 900,000 homes delivered since 2010, but to build the homes this country needs we need an industry with the right skills.

"Our housing white paper sets out new measures to support training in the construction industry, and we're doubling investment in apprenticeships to £2.5 billion by 2020."

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