Thursday, 13 July 2023
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
356. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he is aware of a survey (details supplied) which cites labour shortages one of the main barriers to achieve national retrofitting targets; how he plans to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35128/23]
Through the Housing for All strategy, and specifically the strategy’s Industry Capability working group, my Department is working with a range of partners across Government to ensure that the skills needs across all construction activities- housing new builds, infrastructural development, and retrofit- are fully addressed and we deliver on the targets set out in Housing for All, Project Ireland 2040 and the National Retrofitting Programme.
The working group is chaired by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, which is responsible for construction related training, including apprenticeships, across the Further Education and Training and Higher Education sectors. The Working Group’s focus is on leading initiatives associated with innovation and productivity, skills and labour, enterprise support, standards and compliance, and sectoral engagement.
Its skills planning is framed by the Report on the Analysis of Skills for Residential Construction and Retrofitting 2023-2030, which was commissioned and published by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in late 2022.
My Department’s chief contribution towards addressing our construction sector skills needs is through the facilitation of international recruitment, which is being progressed by the Housing for AllInternational Recruitment subgroup, and specifically the recruitment of non-EEA construction workers through the employment permits system.
In 2022, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment issued 1,474 employment permits for roles within the construction sector, an increase of 142 per cent on 2021 levels. In 2023, to date, 723 employment permits have been issued for roles in the sector. These increases have come as a result of comprehensive changes to eligibility criteria for employment permits made by the Department since April 2019.
The result is that most construction occupations, including those key to the delivery of the National Retrofitting Programme, are now eligible for an employment permit. Those roles eligible for a critical skills employment permit are: Architect, Architectural Technologist, Civil Engineer, Construction Project Manager, Electrical Engineer, Façade Designer, Mechanical Engineer, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers with BIM expertise, Quantity Surveyor, Setting out Engineer, Site Manager, and Structural/Site Engineer.
Those roles eligible for a General Employment Permit include: Architectural Technician, Bricklayer, Carpenter and Joiner, Civil and Structural Engineering Technician, Construction and Building Trades Supervisor, Construction Safety Manager, Construction Safety Officer, Crane Driver, Draughtsperson, Electrician, Floorer and Wall Tiler, Foreman, Glazier, Window Fabricator and Fitter, Mason, Painter and Decorator, Plasterer, Plumber and Heating and Ventilating Engineer, Roofer, Roof Tiler and Slater, Scaffolder, Stager and Rigger, Sheet Metal Worker, Shuttering Carpenter, and Welding Trade.
My Department will continue to be responsive to demonstrated skills needs across construction activities, through the timely and efficient operation of our employment permits system.