Could you build tracks and railways?
There are many foreign companies and workers in the construction industry, which is a good thing. Sometimes, this is also criticised in public discussions. However, the use of foreign workforce is not an end in itself. The shortage of professionals in the construction industry has led us to this situation.
In other words, we are dependent on foreign workers who, according to the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT, make up a significant share of all construction workers. This situation can lead to grey economy phenomena and, in order to eradicate that, we started to require that posted workers from outside the EU and EEA should have the right of residence and employment in Finland. We were the first listed company in the Finnish construction sector to require this, and other construction companies have now followed our lead.
We strive to make sure that in addition to graduate trainees, our construction sites also have students from vocational schools in summer internships and jobs all over Finland, so that young people in the field can gain experience and we can pass on our know-how and knowledge to the professionals of the future.
The situation could be improved relatively quickly through training, because the construction industry has more young employees (under 25-year-olds) than any other sector. The industry has many pull factors; good salary level, plenty of work and good career advancement opportunities. In addition, there is a wide range of interesting projects that are related to making our society more sustainable.
One in five people in Finland earn their livelihood directly or indirectly from the built environment, but the number of training opportunities in the field lags behind. This needs to change quickly so that we can offer young people the opportunity to join an industry that has significant potential, for example, in the fight against climate change.
Studies in the construction sector are provided by vocational schools, universities of applied sciences and universities. In addition to this, the apprentice-master model is also common the sector. In other words, there is something for everyone. All we need is a genuine will to strengthen training in the construction industry.