That was the view of Dumfriesshire constituency MSP Oliver Mundell, who was on a visit to building company Ashleigh Scotland’s base at Heathhall.
He was briefed by the firm’s area director David Roan on the many projects, including public buildings and new housing, which they have successfully completed in the region.
He was also updated about the economic impact on the sector from the global pandemic and challenges created by current supply chain delays and construction material cost inflation.
And he met Jim Halliday, regional engagement advisor with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
This was followed by a tour of a near-by housing development, off Herries Avenue, where Ashleigh are nearing completion of 75 homes for Loreburn Housing, some of which are already occupied.
The company currently directly employ 45 workers and 68 self-employed in Dumfries and Galloway together with more than 200 sub-contractors.
Mr Mundell spoke to some of the seven apprentices employed directly by Ashleigh and the 24 being trained by project delivery partners. He said: “With the drive towards achieving net zero carbon as well as meeting housing needs across the UK, the importance of the construction industry has arguably never been greater.
“That’s why training a new generation in the skills and trades vital to this sector is increasingly important.
“I’ve long been a supporter of apprenticeships and am pleased to see them being developed more widely across a range of industries.”
Jim Halliday said: “We are doing everything we can to help construction build its way back to full strength after the pandemic. It’s important that apprentices are recognised as a vital part of the recovery and the lifeblood of the industry.
“It was a pleasure to discuss this with Mr Mundell and the team at Ashleigh, and to meet the team doing some great work in the local area.”