Energy transition and digitalisation will increase demand for qualified labour. | Gemma Andreu

The manager of the builders association in the Balearics, Sandra Verger, says that more than half of the construction companies on the islands have been forced to give up some work because they do not have enough qualified workers to carry it out. "Companies are having enormous difficulties in finding workers with adequate training. The greatest difficulties are with bricklayers, site managers, carpenters and assemblers of prefabricated structures."

The shortage of qualified labour, she notes, is at a time when seven out of every ten euros of EU Next Generation Funds are going to be channelled via the construction sector, with one of the main objectives being the energy rehabilitation of the housing stock. "This represents a unique opportunity for economic recovery after the pandemic, but it may fail if the sector is not capable of coping with the lack of qualified labour. It is vital to attract and train young people and to incorporate people who have already been trained."

Verger adds that "construction will need hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years for digital and ecological transition through new technologies, energy efficiency, sustainability, digitalisation, robotics, home automation and modularisation". "It is therefore necessary to enhance vocational training and to promote it more."

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Given the current situation, the construction sector is looking at recruitment from other countries. However, Verger acknowledges that there are a number of difficulties with this. "To work on construction sites, it is mandatory to take a course in occupational risk prevention and it is necessary to know the official languages ​​of the islands. This is a sector that involves risk at work, so it is necessary to perfectly understand instructions that are given at construction sites." Companies also need to be able to certify that workers from overseas do have adequate training.

Mayra Argüelles of the installers association explains that its members have been experiencing "many problems with filling vacancies". This was already the case in 2021 but has worsened this year. At present, around 1,000 employees are needed for electrical installation, air conditioning, telecommunications, plumbing, solar panels, recharging points and fire prevention. To this current demand will be added the future needs related to energy transition in the Balearics.

While the employment service is being urged to set up relevant training courses, the association has its own training centre. This provides three-month (380 hours) courses to obtain professional certificates, with which "quick, guaranteed job placement is possible". Even so and because of a serious lack of training, the association is proposing initial training of 90 hours, reinforced with occupational risk programmes.