Can ‘A Home for Cathy’ encourage the homeless into the construction industry?

An estimated 190,000 new jobs will be created in the UK construction industry by the end of 2018, at the same time as a possible loss of around 200,000 workers from the EU following Brexit, if access to the single market is lost.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned of a future shortage of skilled workers through age which will particularly affect Quantity Surveyors and bricklayers.

There is growing concern that this will leave the industry with a skills shortage and the RICS has called for UK construction companies to address this by providing a mechanism by which disadvantaged people can obtain access to work. These include the young and homeless who, without a stable home, experience real difficulty in obtaining (and maintaining) work.

The RICS would like to see more training opportunities for younger people who have experienced homelessness, and has invited a change in working practices and ‘back to work’ schemes.

In 2001, Business in the Community introduced its Ready for Work employment programme. The scheme, which involves 150 business in 16 locations, supports participants through training and work placements, and their progress towards employment. In return, businesses are rewarded with cost-effective recruitment, links with the local community and development opportunities for employee volunteers.

So far, nearly 10,000 people have been supported by the programme, and over 4,000 have entered employment. The scheme currently helps an average of 250 people into employment each year (about half of programme participants) and 81% of these move into jobs lasting three months or longer.

The RICS now invites the wider property sector to collaborate to deliver affordable homes with its anti-homelessness campaign: A Home for Cathy. Ideas for solutions to help reverse rising homelessness are being welcomed through the campaign by pledging support or through Twitter at @RICSnews hashtag #AHomeforCathy.

The campaign aims to unite the property sector to help to deliver more affordable homes while at the same time encouraging the homeless into the construction industry. The RICS has invited businesses to become involved in ‘back to work’ schemes, including the offer of appropriate contracts, effective training programmes, buddy or mentor systems, HR policies, and weekly pay options.