This week, we launch the Decipher QS Scholarship with the University of Salford. So we thought we would share some information about the new scholarship and some of the other ways we are working to close the skills gap.

“We have a skills shortage crisis!”

If you work in construction, you’ll have heard that mantra repeated by the industry over the past 15 years or so. Warnings have come from all directions. Are we at risk of becoming an industry that lacks the skills and experience needed to complete construction projects successfully?

We wrote about the issue two years ago on this blog. Looking back now, it seems very little has changed.

Despite the boom in construction in Manchester, there is a bottleneck which is preventing new talent entering the industry.

It starts from the top

Our management team try to practice what they preach when it comes to developing talent. This includes giving up their time to support the next generation of quantity surveyors.
Becoming chartered is an important step in any surveyor’s career. This globally recognised qualification gives both employers and clients confidence. For many roles it is an essential qualification.

It is also a real challenge for most surveyors. At Decipher, we encourage all our surveyors to go for chartership as soon as they are ready. But it is a serious commitment, both from the employer and the employee.

As RICS assessors, we know what to look for from candidates and can guide our own teams accordingly.

The right starting point

Clear pathways are a vital component to attracting the right talent. For too long, vocational training has been seen as the poor cousin to academic study. However, in our experience, apprenticeships can provide valuable on the job experience you cannot get from a classroom alone.

Our current apprentice Amelia joined us as a school leaver. We are now supporting her through her education to try and ensure she gets the best possible start in her career, as well as getting a chance to experience a real-life working environment.

We are also proud this week to announce the new Decipher QS Scholarship with The University of Salford.

The scholarship will be available for students studying Quantity Surveying. We hope that financial support will help entice students who may have previously been deterred due to financial reasons.

Read what our CEO Paul Gibbons and Joe Sweeney (Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Environment) had to say about the scholarship here.

A personal touch

All of the above matters very little if you can’t convince people to stay in the industry once here. At Decipher, we know our team are our most valuable assets. From our apprentices, just starting out all the way up to our management team.

Every single member of staff has their own individual development plan. We provide time and money for all our employees to develop their skills. For some that means RICS Chartership or studying further education. For others it may be support and guidance to develop their confidence in soft skills.

Our HR team put a lot of work in to achieve silver status from Investors in People. But we were clear from the start that this must not be an exercise in ticking boxes. We only wanted to implement initiatives that would truly benefit our team.

What does the future hold?

This month we celebrate our 21st birthday as a business. A real achievement, and one our founder Paul couldn’t have dreamed of when he set up on his own all those years ago.

We are only here because of the people who have been a part of our business along the way. We would not be as strong as we are if we didn’t continually work to attract, and most importantly, retain and develop the very best talent.

Our people are our strength. We will continue to invest in them and in the future of the construction industry so we can still be here in another 21 years from now.