Worldskills Ireland 2022: The new faces of construction

by | Sep 6, 2022

A Worldskills Ireland partner, the Construction Industry Federation is the Irish construction industry’s representative body. It represents over 1,500 companies within the sector that employs 150,000 directly with another 50,000 jobs in supporting industry.

With the skills shortage high on the agenda, and its potential impact across the economy vast if not addressed, the CIF is committed to closing this gap, and highlighting the solid and expansive array of careers within construction that make it an attractive career option for young people considering their futures in employment.

CIF Director Safety & Training and Safe-T-Cert Scheme Manager (ROI) Dermot Carey, pictured below, discusses the importance of Worldskills Ireland and the CIF’s involvement in the event.

Dermot Carey. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Dermot, we’ve heard about the skills shortage for a number of years, but why is this an issue and how it will impact the economy if not addressed?

A perfect storm is on the horizon if we don’t take immediate action. We have a lack of housing stock, challenges with the cost and supply of the materials and a skills shortage that has been accelerated by the pandemic. Our people are the backbone of the construction sector, and our industry has been built upon the incredible skills of our construction workers over many years.

On a macro level, construction impacts on everything, from people’s homes and the country’s infrastructure to foreign direct investment in Ireland, which essentially creates jobs. We need construction workers to build our homes, offices, commercial premises, hotels and attractions and so much more.

Technology and automation now play a huge role, but our industry is still built upon the strength, expertise and skills of our people. In the next 10 -15 years, we’re conservatively predicting that around 67,500 construction workers will be needed overall to deliver Housing for All and a further 17,000 to carry out retrofitting projects.

That’s a staggering number, which is why Worldskills Ireland is incredibly important. The opportunity within construction has never been greater. The variety of roles on offer is vast, and for young people, they can benefit from earning whilst they learn, with guaranteed career paths that can take them far.

This is why we’re committed to Worldskills Ireland – it’s the perfect national platform for us to showcase our industry, the advancements within construction, the incredible career paths that are open to young people and to engage with the next generation who are the future of construction.

Carpenter Luke Hawthorne at Worldskills

How is the CIF involved with Worldskills Ireland and why should young people attend?

We supported the inaugural event backin 2019, and it was just incredible. With competitions, apprenticeships, skills on show and industry leaders all under one roof, Worldskills Ireland was a three-day event packed with opportunity for young people.

Parents, schools, teachers and school leavers all converged at the RDS for the event, and the feedback was incredible. Worldskills Ireland’s value is in bringing all of these partners (government, education and industry) together, showcasing skills and routes to learn – all within one powerful event.

Worldskills Ireland gives parents and young people a rounded and informed view on what’s on offer as they take their next steps into apprenticeships, higher education or the world of employment. The choice is theirs, but our job is to ensure young people are equipped with all of the information from which they can make informed career choices that best suit them.

For the 2022 show, the Construction Industry Federation will be located in the Careers in Construction area, sitting alongside a number of our member companies.

Our focus for the event is to highlight the broad range of career opportunities in the construction industry. We’re also really proud that Worldskills Ireland is hosting so many live competitions, many of which will highlight the very best emerging talents in construction skills in areas including bricklaying, cabinetmaking, industrial control, joinery and refrigeration.

Finally, we’re very much looking forward to welcoming students from Mount Sackville Secondary School, who were earlier this year crowned as Overall Winner of the CIF’s 2022 ‘Building The Future’ Competition.

Students, Orla Murphy and Olwyn Berry from Mount Sackville, will present their winning entry titled Radharc na Life (The Liffey View), mapping out their proposed sustainable housing development on Knockmaroon Hill, Castleknock, Dublin 20.

New Cross College in Finglas and Galway City Youthreach will also present their entries on stage at Worldskills, they came in second and third respectively.

For parents and young people, how has the careers landscape within construction changed? What are the opportunities?

Many years ago, parents and young people, may have associated careers in construction with bricklaying, electrical and plumbing  apprenticeships, but today, the range of skills required is so much greater.

Yes, these core skills are still very much in demand, but our members’ requirements have widened to include jobs within sustainable building, automation, ICT, technology-driven roles, data specialists and so much more. The changing face of construction is generating new opportunities and that’s why Worldskills Ireland is so important.

It’s a platform in which we can introduce young people, their parents and careers guidance counsellors to the new face  of construction in Ireland. In addition to our growing needs as a sector, construction employers now compete against other industries for talent, and in doing so, our workplace cultures have evolved greatly.

Our members have worked hard to create more diverse workplaces where roles are well paid, rewarding and offer career progression. A career in construction delivers a solid skillset that provides young people with a strong foundation for securing work in any country in the world, however with the expansion of many of our members’ businesses into Europe and beyond, a career with an Irish construction company can lead to progressing with that business, broadening your horizons and also travelling the world.

At Worldskills Ireland, we will be showcasing many of the opportunities on offer to young people, and we’ll be providing guidance and advice on specific schemes such as the Housing for All Future Building Initiative and female bursaries that are available in relation
to apprenticeships, specifically in areas where there’s more than 80 per cent male participation.

As a sector, it’s important that we investment in our careers’ pipeline and future talent, which is why the CIF is proud to be a partner of Worldskills Ireland.

For further information on the Construction Industry Federation see www.cif.ie or visit the CIF at Worldskills Ireland. Register to visit now at www.worldskillsireland.ie

Opening hours are from 10am – 5pm and group time slots will be allocated from 10am – noon or from 1pm – 3pm. Attendance is free.

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