The North West needs almost 30,000 extra construction workers by 2026 to meet growing demand in the industry.

New figures from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) find that an extra 28,450 construction workers are needed in the North West as over a quarter of a million needed across the country to fulfil demand.

One local college group, which offers a range of construction industry apprenticeships, has said it has been "inundated" with applications to get into this industry and is doing it's best to help meet demand for workers.

With job vacancies at a record high, and unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years, the CITB report forecasts recruitment and developing a highly skilled workforce will be the biggest challenge construction will face over the next five years.

Lancashire Telegraph: Morag Davis of Nelson and Colne College Group responds to challenging demandMorag Davis of Nelson and Colne College Group responds to challenging demand

Responding to the challenging demand, Assistant Principal for Technical Curriculum at Nelson and Colne College Group, Morag Davis, said: "There’s no question that the figure of 28,450 extra workers by 2026 to meet projected North West growth prospects is a daunting one.

"However, it’s clear that people in our region can see the opportunities a career in construction can offer.

“We are always inundated with interest for our various courses within construction trades and building services at both Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, both within the Nelson and Colne College Group.”

Increased demand in the North West are expected to be for occupations including professional technical, IT and other office-based staff, wood trades and interior fit out, and construction process managers.

The CITB is urging industry and government to come together in refreshing the way industry hires and trains, making construction an attractive place for everyone to work.

Lancashire Telegraph: CITB urging industry and government to work together to fulfil demandCITB urging industry and government to work together to fulfil demand

Ms Davis added: “For such growth to happen, increasing awareness of career opportunities in a high-growth construction sector is a must.

"We already work closely with employers to ensure this happens and strengthening such links across the sector will be an essential step in really getting the message out there.”

The target of 28,450 extra workers in the North West depends on a number of factors.

Ms Davis said: “If we can get the right employers pushing the right opportunities, coupled with additional support from the Government for an increase in funded training programmes to support upskilling and reskilling, we would certainly be able to make inroads into closing the skills gap."

In the North West of England, private housing, non-housing repair and maintenance, commercial sectors are expected to see the fastest rates of growth.

The North West has an annual output growth prediction of 2.9 per cent which are driven by construction projects like the £500 million Affordable Homes Programme and the £365m Cotton Quay Scheme.

CITB Engagement Director for England, Deborah Madden, added: “Construction is vital in developing and strengthening our regional and national economies, and our report shows the future is bright for the North West of England.

“The industry has a lot to offer, and it must use its many strengths, and projects like these, to attract and retain top talent in a competitive recruitment landscape.

“Training routes into the industry will be a focus for us and we must attract and retain more people from right across the North West of England. 

"It will be a major task, but the industry needs to evolve and grow to reach its untapped potential not only for prosperity of North West’s economy but also for the success of the UK’s economy.” 

The CITB launched a business plan last month to address the challenges and demands and will invest over £233m across Britain to support construction throughout 2022 and 2023.

Blackburn College was also approached for comment on what courses it offers in the construction industry, but did not respond.