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ConstructionSkills research project

In order to better understand the current role of migrant workers in the UK construction industry, ConstructionSkills has commissioned a research project in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The project will use the Olympics as a key case study to examine the labour demand impact of large projects on the construction industry labour market and to determine the ways in which the construction sector can manage migration within its labour market strategies. It will also seek to provide methodologies for determining the need for, and the impacts of, migration on the construction sector’s labour market.

The programme will be informed by contributions from contractors, Unions, clients, Government departments and Olympic bodies in order to build the most authoritative picture of the industry’s current use of migrant labour. This announcement comes ahead of the first industry consultation workshop which will identify key areas of interest and help to structure the research process.

Guy Hazlehurst, Deputy Director Skills Strategy explains: “Migrant labour has always been a feature of the UK construction industry, and we recognise that it has a role to play particularly in times of high demand. This research will enhance our understanding of the make up of the UK construction workforce and how we can best integrate migrant labour to ensure they are working safely and productively.

“Earlier in the year we published the first figures from the Construction Skills Network, which identified the need to attract 87,000 new recruits per year to the industry. Our work with the IPPR will further our understanding of the construction labour market and ensure that the major construction projects in the pipeline are fully resourced.”

Danny Sriskandarajah, Associate Director and Head of the Migration, Equalities and Citizenship Team at ippr added “The construction sector will have a pivotal role in ensuring that top quality Olympics facilities are delivered on-time and on-budget, but also that the Games result in a sustainable legacy for the people of the Lower Lea Valley, wider London, and indeed the whole of the UK.

One big challenge for the Olympics and beyond will be in striking a balance between tapping and developing local skills, and managing the right workers from overseas who can meet skills gaps that cannot be filled locally. Building up to 2012 will require a better evidence base on the role of migrant workers in construction, to give policymakers the facts they need to strike this balance.”

For further information, read the full press release

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