With a Little Help From Your Friends…

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With a Little Help From Your Friends…

Jamie Porter

One of the largest challenges we face currently within the construction industry is the ongoing skills shortage. In my role as a consultant specialising in recruiting for civil engineering contractors, it is perhaps more acutely felt as my client base fight that battle in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Investing in skills whilst delivering projects on tight margins is a fine balancing act.

It’s a well-worn topic and the many factors that led us to this point are well documented. The answer to the problem however still requires fresh thinking and innovation on a grand scale. In the longer term, the answer lies in developing a strategy bringing together government, education authorities and the industry to help develop the talent required for the future. In the short term, though, there’s no silver bullet which will successfully solve all of these problems in one fell swoop. We all have to play our part in addressing the problem and that means we must all aim to generate new ideas and initiatives.

Last Tuesday I met a Site Engineer who we recently placed within the AWPR Project JV. The placement of this particular Engineer was the result of two initiatives that Contract Scotland has pioneered over the past 2 years; our Candidate Referral Scheme and our “Recruiting from Spain” Initiative. Herminio Fernandez is a Spanish Site Engineer who was referred to us by Rafael Martinez last summer. Rafael himself was an individual who initially made contact with my colleague Samantha Lister, our consultant currently leading the ‘Recruiting from Spain’ Initiative. Samantha is herself currently based in Southern Spain, sourcing Spanish and other European construction professionals interested in working in Scotland.

EU immigration is clearly a hot topic at present but there’s no doubt that critical infrastructure projects such as the AWPR could not be delivered without the assistance of highly skilled engineering talent from the continent. Herminio is one of a number of Spanish, Portuguese and Greek Engineers working in Scotland at present, helping to fill the aforementioned skills gap.

The Candidate Referral Scheme has proven immensely popular, with a £200 fee paid to the referrer where a candidate is successfully placed in a job.  An increasing number of placements we make have resulted from these referrals and as the initiative gathers momentum, we expect to see this grow. 

These are just two of many initiatives we are currently pioneering to help bridge the skills gap. For a comprehensive discussion on how we can help you, whether you are looking for a job, looking to refer someone or looking to recruit, we are always happy to hear from you. Please contact me at jamie.porter@contractscotland.co.uk

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