Training: A Silver Bullet for Productivity Woes?

Added: 19/02/16 Author: Mark Tomlin

As you may have gathered from the content of my last post, I’m a big believer in maximising the skills of the construction work force, and putting them to the best use to improve the industry.

Clearly, having well-trained workers is a significant advantage, and this is a thought which has been backed up by an article published in the January edition of the BSRIA’s Delta T magazine.

Titled “Identifying the causes of trends in construction labour productivity” the research piece looks at productivity in general construction, as well as various specialisms from 1998 to 2013. As regular readers of my posts will be aware, this period saw little in the way of improvement, but why?

Alongside factors such as the economic cycle, competition and project delays, the paper’s authors (including members of the CITB and Experian) identify that the quality and training of a workforce has a significant impact on their productivity.

In fact, if two equally-sized teams of workers were to work on the same project, at the same time and under the same conditions, the research estimates that there would be a 75% difference in their productivity as a result of training alone.

Of course, this is an extreme example looking at the opposite ends of the quality-spectrum, but with initiatives such as Construction 2025 calling for a 50% reduction in the time taken from a project’s inception to its completion, it would be foolish to dismiss the important role that having skilled professionals on site can play.

While the recession saw the industry falter, we’re now finding our feet, making it more important than ever that we bring in the skills that we need to maximise productivity and to keep it high over the coming years.