report released by the Royal Irish Academy and the Construction Industry Federation contains recommendations for the construction industry, education and training, and research sectors aimed at ensuring Ireland’s construction sector keeps pace with global transformation of construction. 

Keeping pace with global transformation of construction

The construction sector worldwide is undergoing a significant transformation and disruption as a result of the adoption of new technologies and in response to the challenges of climate change and need to improve sustainability.

The requirements for education and training of the construction workforce are changing, creating a challenge for Ireland of ensuring that education and training programmes keep pace with changes. 

The authors of the report warn that there is a risk that some critical objectives in the National Development Plan such as Housing For All and mandated carbon targets, will not be met due to a shortage of sufficiently well-trained personnel at al levels to support a modern construction sector and drive the transformation required. 

The report recommends a mechanism is put in place to ensure all stakeholders involved in supporting the construction sector continually communicate and cooperate on needs and challenges. Such a mechanism is needed to ensure that the construction related elements of education and training evolve and adapt to provide a sustained human capital pipeline which is best suited to supporting the response of the industry. 

Unique mix of thought leaders

This report emerged from a conference hosted by the Royal Irish Academy in conjunction with Construction Industry Federation which brought together a unique mix of thought leaders in the construction sector including those from leading construction companies with outstanding researchers, representatives of the national training organisations.

PJ Rudden, chair of the Construction Sector Group on Innovation and Digital Adoption and former president of Engineers Ireland.

PJ Rudden, chair of the Construction Sector Group on Innovation and Digital Adoption and former president of Engineers Ireland, said: “The ability of the construction sector in Ireland to deliver on the National Development Plan and a large increase in housing stock is critically dependent on the supply of a skilled workforce at all levels, from apprentices to researchers, across a wide range of disciplines.

"The construction sector in Ireland needs to continue to evolve, so that it can meet the significant challenges that lie ahead. The higher education and training sectors also need to continually adapt to ensure programmes deliver graduates who have skills and knowledge of modern and emerging methods of construction, digital technologies and the policy and regulatory framework within which construction operates.

“This conference will examine how we can ensure that the construction workforce is equipped with the right skills to meet tomorrow’s challenges and needs.”