RIBA president Stephen Hodder has called for a new £30 million government fund set up to increase the supply of engineers to be extended to architects
Last week the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced the taxpayer support, made up of £10 million to ‘improve engineering careers’, £10 million to develop skills in smaller companies and £10 million to develop women engineers. The package is part of the government’s Employer Ownership Fund, set up to help employers overcome skills shortages.
Hodder pointed out that architecture firms face growing skills shortages, adding that women make up only 16 per cent of the profession. He said: ‘This fund should be made available across the construction industry. We have a shortage in all areas of construction, not just engineering. The RIBA has a very considered equality and diversity policy to look at ways to advise practices on the issue of women in architecture such as encouraging practices to offer flexible working arrangements. We need support on these issues.’
New figures revealed by the Office of National Statistics last Wednesday showed the number of architects claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in May fell by almost half year-on-year to 310 people, down from 615 in May 2013 and from a peak of 1,995 in August 2009.
Observers pointed to booming global demand for British architects and warned of a particular shortage of job candidates with experience of delivering projects (read more here).
RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson said that architects responding to the institute’s monthly RIBA Future Trends survey have reported workloads around 10 per cent above 2013 levels. He said: ‘We are hearing of shortages of BIM-literate staff with project delivery experience, and these candidates are increasingly in demand.’
RIBA Appointments manager Paul Chappell added: ‘There are two to three times the number of jobs coming in compared to last year.’
BIS declined to comment.