In the recent past, the construction sector witnessed the boom bust cycle of the economy which saw thousands or unskilled workers enter the building industry in place of highly skilled craftspeople normally found in traditional building practices. We saw the replacement of proper craftspeople by unskilled workers who can achieve only one or maybe two outcomes relating to anyone trade. This now has culminated in the production of sub-standard buildings that many are unaware of. It is only when the media reports of such buildings that we eventually hear about them. This reflected badly on us as a whole as our more experienced qualified craftspeople left our shores in pursuance of better pay and conditions.
During the boom period 1996 to 2008 we saw employers refusing to properly train our youth by placing them into FAS to allow them develop properly as apprentices. Hence we see today, the craft is showing a higher percentage of unqualified plasterers as opposed to qualified. This of course is not reflective of the skill levels attained by those who trained in the last 10/20 years as those who can achieve high quality work finishes often have not obtained the qualification in the craft.
Following a number of meetings a discussion has evolved around the idea of creating a Register of Craft workers as an essential part of the building industry today. In particular, when contractors leave such construction projects is in a dilapidated state such as Priory Hall, it reflects badly on all of us.
The Construction Industry Federation have established CIRI which is a register for main contractors, sub-contractors and specialist contractors who carry out work in the sector. One element is missing from that register, that being the one person who actually carries out the work - the Tradesperson.