Belfast Telegraph

Slight dip forecast for construction sector over next five years

Scotland's construction sector is expected to experience a slight dip in the next five years, according to a new industry forecast.

Overall construction output is due to contract by 0.4% annually in the five years to 2021, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report found.

This is almost entirely due to the drop in the level of infrastructure activity following the completion of several major projects such as the Queensferry Crossing, it said.

As a result, employment in the sector is expected to drop by 0.8% a year on average over the forecasting period.

Despite that, the sector's ageing workforce means thousands of new workers will still be needed to meet demand, with the report putting this number at 12,000.

Within the construction sector, housing is set for modest growth, with public housing and private housing both on the up, with annual average rises of 1.1% and 2% respectively.

In contrast, in frastructure is expected to experience falls of 6.3% on average each year.

Ian Hughes, of CITB Scotland, said: "Scottish construction has had an incredible few years, with infrastructure operating at record levels.

"The tapering off of output in this sector leaves the forecast for Scotland flat, but the picture for individual subsectors is brighter, with most due to experience growth.

"With nearly 12,000 new workers needed over the next few years, there remain excellent, rewarding career opportunities in construction.

"We want to support firms in Scotland to take on apprentices, and upskill their workforce, while encouraging young people to join the industry to help construction grow in years to come.

"While we have factored Brexit into this forecast, there remain many unknowns to life after leaving the EU.

"We will be working with our industry to understand what it means for our migrant workforce and what we must do to attract and grow more of our own."