The UK's construction sector could be facing a skills "time bomb", according to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Officials explained that around 400,000 people are expected to retire during the next five to ten years and companies need to act now to avoid the skills shortage akin to that seen in the early 1990s. The CITB highlighted figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which stated that 24 per cent of the construction workforce are due to retire within ten to 20 years while 19 per cent (406,000) will be leaving the sector in less than ten years time.

Firms across the country have now been encouraged to ready themselves to ensure that they avoid being left with a significant skills shortage. One of the main pieces of advice the CITB has given out is for companies to encourage more and more youngster to take a career in construction. With many adolescents not knowing what they want to do when they leave school, an apprenticeship in the construction sector could a perfect opportunity and provide a positive result for both sides.

William Burton, interim chief executive of CITB,  said: “Not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce  –  is no longer an option.

"The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990’s, we urge employers to act now."

Despite the warnings from the CITB, the construction sector has actually performed well of late, with new figures from the Construction Products Association (CPA) showing that the industry is set for a rebound. Forecasters predict that output will improve by 2.2 per cent in 2014, which will see the industry enter recovery. Officials explained that the main force behind this growth is the strong performance of the UK's housing market.

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