CONSTRUCTION is set to create more than 3,000 new jobs in the region each year until 2019, an industry forecast predicts.

The annual Construction Skills Network report from the industry’s training board suggests that the strong comeback could achieve growth of 2.3 per cent over the next five years, resulting in 3,220 new jobs each year, which could help fuel a northern economic powerhouse.

Both commercial construction and private housing development are set for steady growth over the five-year period, driven by regional projects including retail, country parks and sports facilities.

The Construction Industry Training Board warns, however, that recovery is threatened by a widening skills gap. It is urging tradespeople who left the industry during the downturn to return and take advantage of the increasing opportunities in the sector.

Steve Housden, CITB sector strategy manager for Yorkshire, said: “This report is terrific news for the region and shows the construction industry is making a strong comeback.

“Worryingly, though, construction is facing a skills gap, with projects potentially held back due to a lack of skilled workers. That’s why CITB is working with industry to attract the next generation of workers and encourage skilled tradespeople who left the industry in the recession to return.

“This positive forecast shows that now is the right time to start, or return to, a rewarding career in construction.”

Nationally more than 224,000 jobs will be created by 2019 as the sector expands. Both commercial development and private housing are forecast to continue growing by 4.6 per cent over the five years.

The CITB says more apprentices are urgently needed in the region.

It has urged students to consider construction apprenticeships as a serious alternative to going to university to enable them to ‘earn as they learn’ rather than face student loans of nearly £26,000.

Mick Hamill, CITB’s regional delivery manager, said: “The new regime of student loans is making many college leavers consider the full range of future career paths. Apprenticeships provide an invaluable qualification, which lead to real jobs and can set up a career for life.

“These days, apprenticeship skills are much more varied and often more high-tech than the traditional trades of plumbing and electrical. They are being taken seriously by a much wider pool of college leavers than ever before.”