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My Eye – Barry Neilson

By December 20, 2016No Comments2 min read

With a major seminar on the Skills Gap in Northern Ireland upcoming, Account Executive Jack Gibson profiles one of our expert speakers.

Barry Neilson
When discussing the skills gap, few industries face such severe challenges as construction.

Construction is vital if we are to deal with NI’s shortage of decent homes and office accommodation. And a thriving construction industry has almost unmatched potential to drive the NI economy.

That’s why we’ve asked Barry Neilson, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Training Board (NI), to speak at our seminar on addressing the skills gap.

The CITB provides funding and policy advice to improve skills and training in the Construction Industry.
In its Construction Skills Network Forecast 2016-2020, the CITB estimated that construction employment in NI would grow by 1.5% per year for four years. In real terms, this means we need to train around 270 bricklayers, 170 plant operatives, and 180 civil engineers each year.

But addressing training so many skilled construction workers won’t be easy.

There is a shortfall in the numbers of young people seeking work in construction. Alongside this, trained construction workers find that they are sought after in other jurisdictions, where levels of pay are better.

These issues are compounded by the issue of Brexit, which threatens to inhibit our ability to recruit skilled workers from elsewhere in Europe. And attracting women into construction careers is a constant problem.

It’s these questions, and more, that Barry Neilson seeks to answer. With over twenty years in skills training and construction, both here and in Scotland, he brings a rare mix of skills to this important role.

There are no easy answers to the question of how to grow our workforce. But we need some solutions, if our construction industry is to be able to drive economic growth in Northern Ireland.

To hear Barry’s thoughts on the skills gap, along with the rest of our expert panel of speakers, please register for our seminar here. For more information, visit our website, or contact