Could the Trump era help the UK construction industry skills shortage?
It would be hard not to be caught up in the tidal wave of news coverage about the inauguration of the new US President over the last couple of months.
And, unless you’ve cut yourself off from the outside world completely for a while, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard the opinions of most of your friends and family on the events.
In the same way as the news about Brexit, many have seen Donald Trump’s move into the White House as one which has signaled worrying times ahead, due to some of his radical views and changes to the laws, controversial remarks and opinions. It’s because of these concerns that many Britons wanted to ban his state visit to this country later in the year.
However, news today (Feb 15th) revealed that Theresa May has rejected the petition to ban the new president’s state visit and she has said she is looking forward to his arrival later in the year.
As one of the first foreign leaders to hold talks with the new president and bearing in mind his open desire to do a major free trade deal with Britain, could this seemingly amicable relationship mean good things for our economy?
Among talks on trade deals, terrorism, the Syria crisis and positive changes to tariffs on items imported and exported between the two countries, the initial meeting between the leaders was thought to include ways for US citizens to find it easier to work over here in the UK and vice versa.
Traditionally, anyone outside of the EU has been subject to strict regulations that made it nigh on impossible for them to join the workforce in the UK. And once Brexit has taken place, the same sort of difficulties in gaining a work visa could also apply to European workers.
This has raised concerns, especially within industries going through a chronic skills shortage, such as construction. Industry leaders have wondered about the effect that Brexit would have on the subsequent availability of foreign workers to undertake the necessary roles.
The construction industry is one in particular which is facing a skills shortage, and, with pressure to build more housing over the next few years, especially in London, the ability to bring in workers from overseas could be something that could help considerably.
Mr Trump has in the past said that he believes Brexit to be a great thing and he would move very quickly in making a series of deals with the UK that could benefit both countries after Britain formally exits the EU in the next couple of years.
Currently only around 230,000 North Americans of working age live in the UK, but, if Mr Trump’s desire to cultivate a special relationship bears fruit, then these are figures which could grow. As such, we could be looking at a whole host of construction industry professionals coming to help achieve the Government’s target of building 1 million new homes by 2020.
And, if handled correctly, it could be the solution to the problems of many UK industries, such as engineering, healthcare, arts and entertainment, which are currently struggling with the pressure of being under staffed.
Let’s hope this good start means a positive step forward for the future of UK industry.