NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The country’s skills gap continues to be problematic for Bahamian contractors, according to Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) president Michael Pratt.
Pratt told Eyewitness News the issue is compounded by an unregulated construction industry and access to competitive funding.
“The construction workforce has experienced a shortfall of skilled labour. The skills gap along with an unregulated industry and access to competitive funding is continuing to be problematic for many construction projects,” he said.
“Improving the skills gap is somewhat complex and will not be solved overnight. As technology advances, and as the baby boomers retire the image of the workforce in the eyes of the young people is often negative.
“Construction unfortunately is viewed as unattractive to this group. Construction today is not just a low paying, dirty job. We have to depend on a new workforce that has grown up on technology and therefore we must modernize our industry to capture their attention.”
Pratt said: “We must bridge the gap by working along with our educators to ensure that students leaving high school and tertiary institutions embrace the proper certifications to enter the construction workplace.
“They can be immediately engaged with the necessary skills to bring immediate value to their employers.”
According to Pratt, the path to certification must be shortened using the relevant programs that are available locally, regionally and online.
“The baby boomers have expressed the importance of bachelor and master degrees to their kids but construction as well as other industries now demands certifications over degrees,” he continued.
“Certificates in the many types of welding, pipe fitting, equipment operating, masonry, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, tile and marble installers, sheet-rock installers, construction accounting packages, basic contract law, project management, Quick Books, Excel etc. just to name a few makes the individual more attractive to the industry.
“I’m in no way hitting general knowledge but specialization through certification has been proven to have an immediate impact on finding good paying jobs in many industries today.”
He said: “As we fight to improve our country the construction industry must be paid special attention to. We must continue to enhance the construction industry for Bahamians.
“As we fight to improve our country the construction industry must be paid special attention to. We must continue to enhance the construction industry for Bahamians.”