Critical Skills in the Construction Industry

There are instances when employers experience difficulties recruiting and this could be for various reasons. Some of the reasons could be linked with the shortage of skilled and qualified people for the identified vacancies. That could signal a need for training of people to increase a pool of qualified people. It could of course be that there are sufficient people in the market but the job or industry or even a particular company does not have a good image and therefore does not attract good skills.

This exists when there are not enough skilled people to do particular jobs within an industry. Another reason could be due to the fact that the job is newly emerging, or that there are no people enrolled to acquire those skills.
Such skills in the construction sector include the following


Architects -Building Architect

Quantity Surveyor-Construction Economist / Building Economist
Civil Engineer Structural Engineer; Construction Engineer; Transportation and Urban Planning Engineer; Site Design Engineer; Materials tester; Pavement Engineering

Construction Project Manager– Construction Site Manager; Construction Manager; Property Development Manager; Building and Construction Manager; Construction Project Director

Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHE&Q) Practitioner
Occupational Safety Advisor; Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)
Advisor / Coordinator / Officer / Professional; Safety Coordinator; Health
and Safety Officer / Coordinator / Professional; Candidate Officer

Building Associate– Building Construction Supervisor; Clerk of Works; Building Inspector

Carpenter– Construction Carpenter; Shutter hand; Carpenter Contractor

Plumber– Hot Water System Installer; Plumbing Contractor; Maintenance Plumber

Electrician– Electrical Fitter; Electrician (Engineering); Electrical Contractor

Builder`s Worker– Joinery Worker; Tiler hand; Road Construction / Maintenance Labourer; Demolition Contractor / Labourer; Artisan Aide Building Trade; Bricklayer’s Assistant; Carpenter’s Assistant; Pipe Layer

Due to the dynamic nature of the construction sector with technologies changing and projects not always guaranteed, people employed in the sector and those not currently employed could find themselves lacking certain skills because of changes in technology. In other words, there is a supply of qualified people but they lack the particular skill required. These skills gaps are sometimes referred to as critical skills, which are basically skills that are critical for a particular job or occupation but are thereof lacking amongst those qualified and available to work

Skills that are necessary to carry specialised tasks or functions within an existing role or occupation.
Such skills include the following:
 Construction Regulations – regulatory;
 Legal Liability – regulatory;
 Mentorship;
 Advanced training for Quantity Surveyors;
 Bookkeeping and financial management skills;
 SHE (Health and safety) Rep (First Aid, Firefighting) – regulatory;
 Working at heights;
 Scaffolding;
 Operator Training (Mobile crane; forklift; hoist; excavator; backhoe); and
 Supervisory.

The following is a list of top 20 scarce skills occupations in the construction sector. Employers are asked what skills development interventions are appropriate to address the identified scarce skills. In addition, the occupations in the list are not prioritised according to any importance and are all regarded as important for sector development

OccupationsType of ProgrammeNQF Level
Construction Project ManagerCertificate;BursaryLevel 5-7
Safety, Health, Environment and Quality
(SHE&Q) Practitioner
Skills Programme; Learnership &
Level 4-6
CarpenterApprenticeshiplevel 3-4
DraughtpersonLearnership; Diploma & DegreeLevel 4-7
BricklayerLearnership; Apprenticeship & Skill ProgrammeLevel 2-4
Carpenter and JoinerApprenticeshipLevel 3-4
Building AssociateLearnership & Skills ProgrammeLevel 4
Builder’s WorkerLearnership; Apprenticeship3evel 3-5
PlumberApprenticeshipLevel 4
ArchitectsCandidacy; Bursary; IntershipsLevel 6-8
Civil EngineersDegree; CandidacyLevel 6-8
Quantity SurveyorBursary; CandidacyLevel 6-7
Earthmoving Plant Operator (General)Skills programme; LearnershipLevel 2
RiggerLearnership; ApprenticeshipLevel 3-5
Operations Foreman (Non-Manufacturing)Learnership; DiplomaLevel 4-5
Electrician; Electronic Equipment MechanicianApprenticeshipLevel 4-5
Electrical EngineerBursaryLevel 6-8
Product AssemblerLearnershipLevel 3-4
Timber and Wood Process WorkerSkills ProgrammeLevel 2 & 4
Boiler MakerApprenticeshipsLevel 3-4

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