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That’s the verdict of a new Government commissioned report by Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy.

Over the last couple of decades or so the construction industry has published two key reports.  First in 1994, there was the Sir Michael Latham’s Constructing the Team and then in 1998, Sir John Egan’s report Rethinking Construction. Both potentially hugely influential reports that equally condemned industry practices as 'adversarial', 'ineffective', 'fragmented' and 'incapable of delivering for its clients'. Pretty damming stuff. Where have we progressed to in 2016? Well, we now have the Farmer report published just last month, challengingly titled - Modernise or Die.  Frankly this is not an easy read either for we have not seemingly heeded the warnings of Latham or Egan.  Mark Farmer finds that the industry could see a 25% decline in the available labour force within a decade with 700,000 new people needed in the next five years to replace those retiring. 

Now this is a hobby horse of mine because at Ellis we are fierce advocates of training and development but frankly, it can be a real slog to dovetail effective off-site training with vocational learning. Schools fail to properly promote that construction is an interesting, dynamic and well paid industry.  At Ellis we’re trying to reshape this by working with local schools and colleges. How many other careers give you an opportunity to work on what are essentially bespoke projects every day?

Farmer goes on to say that construction is lagging behind its peer industries with productivity staying flat during the two decades that have seen a 50% increase in manufacturing productivity. Clearly the industry needs an injection of new thinking to address these issues and what a time for talented young people to get involved.  At Ellis we put old hands, with their years of construction experience to work with new hands, with their digital age experience. This is how you can start to change things.  We’re hungry for new blood and need new talent to push boundaries to find innovative and creative ways to improve efficiency and practices. Or in the words of Mark Farmer, …we will die.

If you would like to read Mark Farmers incisive report please see the link here

Finally it is worth pointing out that circa 50% of the people working in construction are “white collar” and not “on the tools”.  There really are very varied career options and many involving developments in IT and digital technology.  To illustrate this there is a great video produced by Go Construct which you can see on YouTube

If you know of family members or friends that might be interested in a career in construction please get in touch with Mal Laurie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to our website

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