It is evident that, in keeping with many other public service professional staff groups, the road service has considerable staff planning concerns looking to the future. The ongoing erosion of experience and numbers of skilled staff across the country is not sustainable. The age profile of road operatives and professional staff is increasing and many authorities are offering voluntary redundancy to older staff. There are very few new staff (especially at entry level) being brought into the roads service and career progression opportunities are limited.
Therefore, particular specialist skills, for example street lighting, road safety, traffic engineering, network management etc are reducing, and opportunities for formal training becoming fewer. There is increasing use of consultants to provide skills such as structural design, traffic management and traffic regulation orders and this may not be cost effective in the long term.
There are also gender balance concerns.
This project was led by a steering group made up of members from CITB, the Improvement Service, Qualifications for Industry, SCOTS, Skills Development Scotland and SPDS. The key features of the project were:
- Data capture of existing road-related workforce, covering demographics and skillsets
- A future scan to determine the staffing needs in 15-20 years
- Based on the future scan, a gap analysis to identify challenges
- Mapping of current training/development opportunities available
- Existing and future job specifications were analysed and profiled to seek some consistency at different levels
- The wider academic sector and professional institutions engaged to assist in finding solutions to the identified challenges
- Skills sharing opportunities developed at local, regional and national level
- Attractive operational and professional career structures will be developed
- A Strategic Workforce Review Report developed