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Inside Housing – News – London housing associations face shortage of 2,600 skilled workers

Inside Housing – News – London housing associations face shortage of 2,600 skilled workers

Elsewhere, short-term contracts hamper contractors’ ability to invest in long-term training and skills, while the quality of apprenticeships in social housing is “inconsistent” and training programmes are “limited in scope”.

Interior housing has made the sector’s recruitment challenge the focus of its Housing Hires campaign. The campaign aims to promote the sector as a place to work and share best practice on how to recruit and retain staff in social housing.

Housing associations currently build a quarter of new homes in London. However, L&Q CEO Fiona Fletcher-Smith said: “Our workforce is ageing, retiring and not being replaced by newly trained staff. This growing challenge threatens the provision of truly affordable, warm and safe housing in the capital.”

Elly Hoult, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at Peabody, said: “There is no ‘quick fix’ to this problem. A long-term plan is needed, with organisations across the sector working together to deliver significant change.

“This is an important first step and we welcome more organisations to join the London Homes Coalition. Together we will find ways to get more people from all backgrounds into work in construction, while addressing the skills gap that is increasingly becoming a barrier as we strive to build more homes and renovate many more.”

Currently, women represent just 14% of construction workers in London, with around 2% in trade occupations. Meanwhile, ethnic minorities make up 24% of construction workers in the capital.

In June, Ms Fletcher-Smith told the Housing 2024 conference in Manchester that a shortage of engineers and scaffolders was hampering housing associations’ fire safety measures.

She said: “Even if I had all the money I needed, I just couldn’t get the right number of fire engineers or – the biggest labour shortage in London – scaffolders. And when you’re dealing with towers over 18 metres, you need scaffolders.”