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What the Future Jobs Ireland 2019 report means for MMC/Offsite Construction

The Future Jobs Ireland 2019 report, which was published by Government late last week, sets out how employment across a range of industries will change and evolve in the future.

The construction industry is highlighted as being particularly vulnerable today, given the reduced workforce and skills deficits. Significantly, these vulnerabilities are expected to magnify in the future. With Project Ireland 2040 in progress, the Government are preparing ways to strengthen Ireland’s position as a good place to do business and influence talent to remain in the country.

The purpose of the report is to identify potential future skills deficiencies and then work with industry to ensure enterprises and workers are in a position to thrive in a fast-paced and changeable economy, not only in Ireland but globally. New technologies will herald new opportunities, but only for those who are ready to embrace the changes.

The report identifies a need to redefine or alter current roles within certain sectors but for the construction industry, a huge changing factor is the growth in modular building and BIM technologies. Productivity levels across the construction industry globally has already been highlighted. Frankly, this industry has failed to keep pace with progress, in line with other comparable industries, and the impact of this is now being felt.

One of the specific measures cited is to increase the use of building information management systems across the sector. In the report, the Government addresses the issues and plans to develop actions to stimulate construction sector productivity, including greater deployment of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The report acknowledges how specific technologies encourage improved technology, specifying that the use of BIM technologies would cultivate productivity improvements in the construction sector.

New immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality are transforming how we view and experience the world, and they have the potential to fundamentally change the industry.

The stated vision is to be more “green” and “eco-friendly”, which is inspiring and smart. Climate change awareness is growing and the Government is banking that a move towards a low-carbon economy will instigate change and offer greater opportunities.

According to the Sunday Independent, the Government also aims to double the retrofitting of homes with insulation to 50,000 a year as part of plans to boost productivity in the construction sector. Interestingly, Government aims to position the public sector as a leader in technology adoption and innovation as part of the five-pillar plan for Future Jobs Ireland 2019. The report also sets a target for the sector to retrofit 250,000 homes by 2025 as part of plans to respond to climate change. There will be the development of a new smart-grid portal, the commencement of the rollout of smart-grid meters by the ESB and an expansion of public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles by 200 to help grow the number of EVs to over 10,000.

According to the report, less than half the population has basic or above basic digital skills, which is well behind the EU average. This statistic highlights the extent of the training challenge facing the industry. Government and enterprise both have important roles to play to encourage, develop and adopt innovative technologies, products and services that increase efficiencies, reduce waste and deliver sustainable development as economies across the world transition to low carbon, bio and circular economies.

The pillars identified for Future Jobs Ireland 2019 are:
● Embracing Innovation and Technological Change
● Improving SME Productivity
● Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent
● Increasing Participation in the Labour Force
● Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

Additional or more specific pillars may emerge or be replaced over time as it is uncertain at this time as to how things will progress. Presently, an extra one million people are projected to be living in Ireland by 2040, of which 660,000 people are expected to be employed. It is vital that the construction industry adapts.

Here at Evolusion Innovation, we are committed to attracting the right talent onto our expert team. If continual training, individual career progression and exciting projects are important to you, take a look at the current vacancies within our offices in Cork and Birmingham.

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