New talent is desperately needed as data reveals groundsmen & greenkeepers are on the decline

Damian Summersin Industry News

Groundsmen and greenkeepers, painters and decorators, plumbers, heating and ventilating engineers are just a few of the trades that the UK relies on, but a new report has revealed a decline in the number of workers in these trades.

The trade trends report 2021 released by Skills Training Group has analysed 16 years worth of data from the Office for National Statistics to assess the state of the UK workforce.

In the report, it revealed multiple key trades on the decline, groundsmen and greenkeepers fell by 25.85 per cent between 2004 and 2020 from 32,500 to 24,100, while plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers fell by 4.19% (157,400 to 150,800) and painters and decorators by 17.80% (138,200 - 113,600).

Steel erectors took the largest hit of all trades analysed, between 2004 and 2020 workers in the trade fell by 47.93 per cent from 12,100 workers to 6,300.

Using the data, the team at Skills Training Group were able to forecast ahead to reveal what the future may look like for these trades if the average decline continues.

By 2049, the picture for groundsmen and greenkeepers looks completely different, projecting a decrease of more than 69%:

Commenting on the research and why young people may be the key to turning the tide for these industries, Mark McShane, managing director at Skills Training Group said:

"For many industries, young people entering the workforce early in their careers means they can learn the craft and make it a long term career - with many being business owners by the time they are 30. But, in order to encourage young people to make these choices, businesses in the industry need to engage with young people, sharing their success stories to encourage a new workforce.

"While many young people may enter into a skilled trade through college and apprenticeships, a missed opportunity may be those that have opted to continue studying for A-Levels. For these students, the general direction is to head off to university, so it's no surprise that many may not have even considered a career in specific trades - this is where recruitment outside of the usual routes can prove fruitful.

"Communication and marketing needs to be a big part of each of the different industry's goals - young people will better engage with clear and smart communication. To attract and recruit new talent to the industry, its image needs to adapt as well. Companies and industries that make noise, engage with social media and shout about what makes their trades great will see the tide change in the amount of people wanting a job."

It's not all bad for every trade, the data also shows that between 2004 and 2020 some trades thrived.

Roofers, roof tilers and slaters increased by 14.06 per cent, gardeners and landscape gardeners (23.9%) and farmers (28.64%).

Read the full report and insights from it here -