The construction industry needs to change its appeal to the next generation of workers if it is going to avoid a major skills crisis.
Ben Beetham, of Lancashire firm Inspired Energy plc, said more people were projected to retire from the industry than join it, so more needed to be done to rid the common misconceptions of being dirty and low-tech.
He said the industry had “a lot of great things to shout about” which would appeal to young people looking to start their careers and urged firms in Lancashire to promote it.
Inspired Energy plc is sponsoring the Construction Business of the Year category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which closed for applications last week.
Ben comments: “Across Lancashire there are construction businesses which are embracing technology and changing the way they do things, a great example of which is the development they offer to employees and the way they are tackling environmental issues.
“The BIBAs judges see these initiatives when they visit construction firms, but it is not a message which is getting out to young people who are looking for aspirational careers.
“There is plenty which can be done nationally to improve things, however, closer to home we need to promote the great opportunities that are available in construction.
“Through the BIBAs, we will be looking to shine a light on the best of the very best in Lancashire and we cannot wait to meet them as judging gets underway in May.”
All applications received for the BIBAs 20 prize categories are now being eligibility checked by the awards’ organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
The eligible entries will then be put forward to the judges of each category to select which they will meet for the first round of face-to-face interviews which get underway from May 13.
The Service Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year categories will be the first to meet judges at the Chamber’s offices in Blackpool.
All finalists will be informed on Monday, June 3, and receive a visit from their judging panels as part of the BIBAs on Tour second round of judging which gets underway from June 17.
In 2018, the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, went to Tony Attard, the High Sheriff of Lancashire and founder of Burnley-based textiles firm, Panaz.
Other winners included Preston-based Sunshine Events and Blackburn’s Flavour Warehouse which both picked up two awards, Creative Business of the Year and Service Business of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year and Exporter of the Year respectively.