Unlocking construction’s digital future: A skills plan for industry

The adoption of digital technologies is a huge opportunity for the UK construction industry to improve productivity and attract a more diverse workforce. However, the industry has yet to undergo the digital transformation it needs.

At the heart of the required change is a need for the industry to digitally upskill its workforce so it can make the best of technology. As the industry’s training board, CITB, must be at the forefront of this digital transformation.

This research explores the skills and competencies the industry needs, going beyond ‘how to use tech’, to a focus on behaviours, attitudes and the development of ‘softer’ skills.

If it doesn’t embrace digital opportunities, the UK construction industry will become marginalised and at risk of significant disruption from technological competitors.

The industry must upskill its workforce, developing digital competencies at all levels – from leadership and management to site workers – so that it is in a position to better adopt and adapt to technology.

For this research we conducted interviews with people working in construction across the UK in roles spanning industry oversight, senior leadership, and site and project managers.

Interviews were supplemented with in-depth site visits in England and Scotland, organised to observe and understand in more detail how some digital technologies are being used on site.

This report recommends the outcomes that CITB, industry and other stakeholders should work towards, and sets out some tools – digital competency scales and spectrums for the industry – that outline how workers can be supported and trained to develop the required mindsets and understanding.