As part of its strategy to provide customers with digital tools for a competitive advantage in the market, Autodesk, Inc. launched the next phase in its effort to upskill current construction workers and help the industry engage the next generation of prospective recruits. The company’s latest initiatives, Construction Master Class and the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center, allow construction industry professionals to learn new skills, advance their careers and future-proof their businesses.
The construction labor shortage and digital skills gap are global challenges. According to the latest annual survey by Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk, 89% of construction firms in America are having a difficult time filling hourly craft positions and 86% are struggling to fill salaried positions. Sixty-one percent of firms surveyed said their projects are being delayed because of workforce shortages. Globally, according to a recent Core Research survey commissioned by Autodesk of 300 construction professionals in Ireland, most professionals attributed their recruitment challenges to a lack of available skilled labor (59%) and a subset of this group (43%) believes labor is available, but company recruitment efforts are unable to attract the right talent.
To help its customers and the construction industry more broadly address challenges around the digital skills gap, Autodesk has launched two new programs: Construction Master Class and the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center.
Construction Master Class provides online tutorials from industry leaders that are free to everyone. Hosted by top construction experts, the videos provide practical insights to empower participants with best practices on workflows and career advancement. Construction Master Class allows viewers to hear directly from industry leaders and Autodesk experts on how to deliver critical project outcomes like better cost control, improved quality management and standardized field collaboration workflows – all through a mix of personal stories, use cases and examples of “what not to do.”
Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center houses easy-to-follow courses free to everyone and translated into five languages on how to use Autodesk Construction Cloud products, including Autodesk Build, Autodesk Takeoff and Autodesk Docs. Learning paths include videos that provide specific and practical instructions on using Autodesk Construction Cloud solutions to excel with digital construction skills such as setting up project templates, tracking issues, managing RFI and submittal workflows and collaborating with project members. Since the launch of the Learning Center in the spring of 2021, there have been more than 42,000 enrollments with registration from 134 countries.
Autodesk has also established several other initiatives to help develop tech acumen in current construction workers and encourage a new and diverse set of workers to join the profession. These include:
- The Autodesk Membership Training Provider Program: More than 215 trade unions and industry associations are now enrolled in Autodesk’s program that aims to increase the digital skills of members. Training centers in the MTP Program are provided with Autodesk software products, such as Autodesk Construction Cloud and Revit, for an annual subscription license fee. The program’s benefits enhance BIM and CAD training efforts at current training sites and allow new sites to offer enhanced training initiatives with Autodesk technology.
- Autodesk’s Make It Real program: A community education program encouraging young people to apply design thinking to real problems related to construction and the built environment. The program offers inspiration, learning and funding opportunities, including this year, $50,000 worth of microgrants provided through the Building Changemakers Giveaway. Recipients decide for themselves how to apply the funds where they are needed most, such as expenses to support training – ranging from tuition and certification fees to safety equipment and childcare.
“As we have all acutely felt, the industry is facing major obstacles when it comes to hiring and retaining labor and skilled trades workers,” said Ronald McGuire, program administrator at the International Training Institute. “There’s huge demand not just for labor in and of itself, but for workers who have digital skills under their belt. Project-ready professionals need to be adept at using technology on the job site and in the trailer, as well as in the office. Autodesk’s learning resources will enable us to upskill current members and provide new ones with the right tools to get quickly up to speed.”
“The labor shortage in the construction industry will only get more dire as the current workforce retires, with about 41% of current U.S. construction professionals expected to age out by 2031, according to McKinsey,” said Allison Scott, director of customer experience and industry advocacy at Autodesk. “Our customers consistently voice concerns that though there will be an influx of new projects and roles, the industry is not bringing in enough people to fulfill their increasing needs or grow the right skillsets. Autodesk’s construction learning initiatives are being employed to help companies move fast, so they can remain competitive and stay ahead of the curve during the industry’s digital transformation.”
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