Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Ms Linda Kane:

We highlighted in the report on this year's competitive challenge that attracting workers into the construction sector will be difficult, especially if some of that labour is being attracted from abroad. Due to the demand for workers, the number required could increase to 80,000, when housing construction ramps up, from the 40,000 full-time equivalents that are working in the construction sector at present. We referred to the expert group on future skills needs. It published a report that highlighted the demand for labour coming from construction. As the Senator rightly said, demand will not only come from houses. In addition, it will come from the many large scale infrastructural projects that are ongoing, and the retrofitting of homes and office spaces. We called for the training available to people who rejoin the workforce to be more widely available. I refer to apprenticeships and getting more young people involved in the construction sector. We must offer people entering the construction sector a good career and long-term prospects. They should be offered a career path to follow.

I refer to the work we are doing for climate change and the new modern methods of construction that are anticipated. We will need people who have those new skills who can look at digital ways of proving productivity in the construction sector. We must bring those higher skilled workers into the sector, as well as the labour on the ground for producing the homes.