GCC facing construction industry skilled labour shortage
The construction industry in Bahrain and across the region could face skills shortage in the near future.
The massive expansion in projects - expected to be worth as much as $4.5 trillion over the next four to five years - could see the Gulf struggling to find people to carry out this work, according to Bahrain Society of Engineers president Abdul Majeed Al Gassab.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the ninth International Concrete Conference and Exhibition at the Gulf Hotel which closes today.
"The construction industry across the Gulf is looking positive and things are picking up quite nicely here in Bahrain with a lot of ministry projects going ahead.
"But we have a shortage of skilled manpower that may not be enough for us to go forward in the future.
"In the past, we could tap into the Far East and the Indian market for labour but now the Indian construction industry is booming and they are also looking at skill shortages," he said.
"The industry needs to attract new expertise and what I suggest is that we start recruiting a young, educated workforce and train them for the future," he added.
"We need to train Bahrainis if we are going to have the proper resource management for the construction industry for the future.
"The Bahrain Society of Engineers shares the concern of the industry on these matters.
"We have developed certified courses for the industry and through meticulous planning we have seen 57 project managers qualified through these courses over the last few years. We are continuing with these efforts," he said.
Commenting on the potential industry boom in the future, he said there were now signs that the world economy was stabilising and this would likely result in new projects coming forward and stalled projects starting up again.
"What we have seen here is ministry projects, that are well-controlled and can be delivered on time and on budget," he said. "This is the time to invest in a new vision including taking a lead in areas like transport and in the oil and gas industries and other infrastructure.
"Our industry has a role to play in that across the region and I believe the debates and presentations we have had at this conference this week will help to strengthen the sustainability of the construction industry's products in the future."