MILTON Keynes could suffer a shortage of qualified bricklayers in the future with plans to build thousands of new homes in the city over the coming decade.
That’s the view of tutors at MK College who are urging young people to start training now.
And with government plans to build an estimated 700,000 new homes across the South East over the next 20 years – around 70,000 of them in Milton Keynes alone – the college’s construction department believes there’s never been a better time to enrol.
James Posselwhite, brick lecturer at Milton Keynes College, said: “Milton Keynes will see enormous growth over the coming years. The building trade is picking up again and if young people start a course now, by the time they are qualified there should be a high demand for bricklayers.
“It’s widely known that there is a chronic shortage of homes across the whole country because we are simply not building enough houses. The government must meet targets to solve the housing crisis so it’s an ideal time to enrol on a bricklaying course.”
He added: “It’s an excellent career choice and with our fantastic new Technical Learning Centre at our Chaffron Way campus we are now able to offer a higher number of places.”
James believes that young people may have been deterred from a career in bricklaying over the past few years due to the recession’s impact on the building industry.
“The building industry is always first to be affected but then is first to pick up again which makes it an ideal time now. Some of our mature students currently studying with us are reporting that they are working in building gangs where the youngest bricklayer is in his 40s.
“That means in five-10 years a lot of these bricklayers will be retiring and there may not be anyone to fill the gap. We saw similar problems a few years ago when there was a lack of plumbers.”
He added: “Bricklaying is a challenging and rewarding trade that leaves a lasting and positive legacy for our community. The construction industry offers great career progression opportunities, as you can adapt your skills to become a site manager or even run your own business.”
> For full details of bricklaying or construction courses offered at MK College go to www.mkcollege.ac.uk