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Addressing skills shortages in the UK restoration industry

For many years now, there has been a growing skills shortage for specialist labour. For disaster restoration, this gap can be felt across the industry, with many firms struggling to attract new talent into the sector. 

From an increase in demand for our services to a skills gap for specialist technicians, there are a number of reasons why the industry is facing these challenges:

Increase in natural disasters

The effects of climate change can already be seen across the UK. According to the British Red Cross , extreme weather events are on the rise. From heatwaves and droughts to floods and storms, the climate crisis is contributing to, and worsening, emergencies across the country, putting the health, homes, and livelihoods of society at risk. 

As Greenpeace highlights, over the last decade, the UK has been 0.8°C warmer, disrupting normal climate patterns. The impacts extend beyond hotter weather - with more moisture in the air, severe storms, flooding, and cold snaps are on the rise too.  

As climate change continues to shape extreme weather patterns, ‘surges’ are becoming increasingly likely and more frequent. 

A surge is an unexpected event that impacts a large number of people simultaneously, resulting in a sharp increase in demand for our services. A national surge could be the consequence of a weather event happening all over the country, such as the cold snap we saw in December 2022, which led to frozen pipes and water tank ruptures. Or it could be a localised surge, which typically impacts lots of people in one specific area - a village fire or major flood, for example. 

Whether it’s a natural disaster, such as severe storms, or water or fire damage, significant restoration services are required to enable homeowners and businesses to return to normality. 

Decrease in business-as-usual volume 

In the last few years, the industry has seen a steady reduction in business-as-usual volume, as people increasingly opt for settlements, rather than restoration and reinstatement.

As a result, many companies have had to either lower their headcount because the market for day-to-day work outside of ‘surges’ is slowing, or move teams to other regions, leaving other areas with a shortage. 

Complexity of the role

Disaster restoration often involves complex techniques and the use of specialised equipment. Finding individuals with the necessary skills can be challenging.  

The opportunity 

The restoration industry offers an incredible career opportunity. What many people outside of our industry don’t see is the impact that our services can have on others. 

When a disaster strikes, it can be an incredibly daunting time for the home or business owner. Playing a major role in getting them back on track, and minimising disruption in the process, is incredibly rewarding. 

The restoration sector is vast and there are so many opportunities to learn skills and progress. By demonstrating the opportunity that a career in restoration offers, we can attract new talent into the industry and address the skills gap. 

Our approach 

At BELFOR UK, we bring together around 250 people from different backgrounds and professions, offering them a safe and inspiring environment, in which they can develop individual strengths.

A job at BELFOR - whether as a multi trader or a technician - is versatile and exciting. And our new training facility, recently launched in Luton, brings this to life for those looking to embark on a career in restoration. 

Our industry leading training platform offers a portfolio of live experience that sets trainees up for an exciting career. The facility has interactive areas, such as a leak detection site and restoration bay, where trainees can learn the craft behind a wide range of disaster recovery techniques. The bespoke training course covers all the fundamental skills that a trainee technician would need before going to a live scenario. This includes responding to natural disasters, such as floods, handling fire contaminated buildings, and restoring asbestos affected properties. 

Now on its third intake, the centre has already trained up eight technicians who have all gone on to secure a full-time position with BELFOR. They are now out working in the field on live disaster recovery incidents, accompanied by their lead tech and manager, who provide ongoing field-based coaching and mentoring. 

We also have a leak detection training suite in Wellingborough, another bespoke training centre. Here, trainees can experience real life situations to prepare them for incidents in the field. 
Many technicians come to us with no experience, but when they finish their training, they have a clear progression path, with ongoing support and learning opportunities available as a full time BELFOR employee.

Our people are one of our most valuable assets. So, investing in their ongoing development quite simply makes sense. If you are looking for an exciting new challenge, in an industry that is constantly evolving, get in touch with us today.

BELFOR Media Contact

Sam Dawson
Phone: +44 (0) 7770 226 269