As we head into 2018, only one factor of the economy is certain – our uncertainty about the implications of Brexit is making a significant impact on the UK construction industry.
General optimism in the industry has been at its most subdued since mid-2013, while the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics suggest that construction output contracted 0.5 per cent in third quarter of 2017, having shrunk by 0.3 per cent in the previous three months.
Duncan Brock of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply said, “It appears that the continued fall in commercial activity was testament to Brexit-related uncertainty on the horizon and the sector’s fear about the direction of the UK economy as clients still hesitated to spend on bigger projects.”
Howard Archer of the EY Item Club concurred, “Extended lacklustre economic activity and heightened economic, political and Brexit uncertainties are clearly hampering the construction sector. It looks like it is going to be another challenging year for the sector.”
With market uncertainty comes a lack of job security for many workers. That’s why we’ve come up with a few strategies to help you improve your skillset in an increasingly competitive market.
Track down networking events
While Brexit might be causing uncertainty in a variety of sectors, construction businesses are always searching for upcoming talent.
If you’re a member of a trade association, chances are that association you’re affiliated with will host a number of trade shows and conferences throughout the year.
Use these events to meet new contacts and make your face known. Similarly, joining your local Chamber of Commerce could help you find out about companies in your local area which are searching for a trade professional.
When networking, don’t forget to bring well-presented business cards with you, and always dress professionally.
In a similar vein to networking events, popular networking site LinkedIn could be the most effective way to meet new contacts.
Make sure your profile outlines your past work experience, your key skills and your personal development while working in a trade. Once your profile is looking great, you’ll be able to connect with anyone in your industry and see a broad range of job opportunities online.
Completing your apprenticeship should never be the end of your training. If you’re constantly moving from one job to the next, you’ll need to continuously accumulate new skills throughout your career.
Gaining a distance learning degree from a university like Anglia Ruskin could be the ticket. A degree in management, for instance, could allow you to progress into a leadership role in construction, commanding a greater salary and increased job security.
Brexit negotiations may be showing a downturn in the fortunes of many industries, but they can also provide great opportunities for the worker who’s willing to network and learn new skills.
Have you got any training tips for the construction industry? Then let us know in the comments below.