Utilising Technology to Retrain and Recruit

The construction and infrastructure sector stands at a crossroads, challenged by a significant skills gap but poised on the brink of a digital revolution. In the UK, this sector is crucial for economic stability and growth, yet it grapples with the urgent need for skilled labour. Digitalisation offers a lifeline, providing innovative solutions to not only bridge this gap but also propel the industry into a future where efficiency, sustainability, and skilled workforce development are intertwined​​.

The Shift Towards Digital Skills and Retraining

The UK Infrastructure Show (UKIS) highlighted a pivotal shift towards prioritising digital skills and retraining within the construction sector. Jon Loveday’s insights at the event underscored a strategic move away from traditional recruitment, focusing instead on upskilling the current workforce. This approach is deemed essential for fostering a resilient, adaptable, and tech-savvy workforce capable of navigating the complexities of modern construction projects. Digital tools, notably Building Information Modeling (BIM), have emerged as key enablers in this transformation, offering a platform for the workforce to develop the necessary digital literacy and technical proficiency​​.

The digital transformation within the construction sector extends beyond workforce retraining; it is redefining recruitment strategies. By emphasising technology’s role in construction processes, the industry becomes more appealing to a younger demographic that values innovation and sustainability. Programs focused on digital proficiency and green construction practices are crucial in attracting new talent, ensuring the sector’s growth and sustainability. This strategy not only addresses the immediate skills shortage but also aligns with the broader goals of creating more sustainable and efficient construction practices​.

Re-flow’s Impact on Efficiency and Sustainability

Re-flow’s field management software exemplifies the tangible benefits of integrating digital tools into construction processes. By automating and streamlining operations, Re-flow enables companies to enhance their efficiency, reduce waste, and focus on sustainable practices. The software’s powerful data-driven forms, AI reporting, and tracking capabilities ensure that businesses have a comprehensive understanding of their operations. This level of insight is crucial for making informed decisions that align with both profitability and environmental sustainability. Through real-time data and enhanced operational visibility, Re-flow supports the construction industry’s journey towards digitalisation, showcasing the practical application and benefits of technology in day-to-day operations​​.

Successful Strategies for Digital Integration

Despite these challenges, certain practices have been identified that significantly increase the likelihood of successful digital transformations in construction. Prioritising the resolution of operational pain points over the mere implementation of IT solutions ensures that digital efforts directly contribute to enhanced performance. Focusing on operational changes that drive improvement facilitates the creation of digital use cases tailored to specific business needs, thereby encouraging widespread adoption and replication across projects​.

A compelling example of successful digital adoption is found in efforts to promote collaboration through digital use cases. By prioritising digital solutions that smooth interactions among various trades and functions, companies can mitigate efficiency losses that typically occur during handoffs. For instance, a contractor significantly reduced rework hours by enhancing communication between site teams and suppliers through a mobile app. This solution enabled the tagging of defects against BIM model elements stored in a common data environment (CDE), streamlining feedback and corrective actions​​.

RPS’s Approach to Digital Transformation

Reflecting on the broader industry’s challenges and solutions, RPS, a global professional services firm, provides a detailed look at the integration of digital technologies across various construction phases. Emphasising the significance of a holistic integrated delivery model, RPS showcases the transformation from traditional, compartmentalised processes to a more unified approach. This evolution is crucial in meeting the demands of a society increasingly focused on sustainability, efficiency, and innovation​.

The construction and infrastructure sector’s future will undoubtedly be shaped by digitalisation. The shift towards digital skills, retraining, and technology-driven recruitment strategies is not just a response to the current skills gap; it is a proactive approach to future-proofing the industry. By embracing digital tools and prioritising sustainability, the UK’s construction sector can ensure its relevance, resilience, and competitiveness in the global market. The journey towards digital transformation is complex, requiring commitment, investment, and strategic vision. However, the benefits—ranging from increased efficiency and reduced environmental impact to a skilled and motivated workforce—are substantial and well worth the effort​.


  • Re-flow. “Technology as a Way to Retrain and Recruit at the UK Infrastructure Show.” Re-flow.co.uk
  • Highways Industry. “Re-flow – Technology as a Way to Retrain and Recruit at the UK Infrastructure Show – Highways Industry.” HighwaysIndustry.com
  • RICS. “The Future of BIM: Digital transformation in the UK in construction.” RICS.org
  • PBC Today. “Understanding the role of digitalisation in global infrastructure.” PBCToday.co.uk
  • McKinsey. “Decoding digital transformation in construction.” McKinsey.com
  • RPS Group. “Digital transformation in the construction industry.” RPSGroup.com