Demand for new homes could fuel the creation of nearly 30,000 extra construction jobs in Scotland over the next five years, a report has claimed.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said the private housing sector was expected to see average annual growth of 4.7%.

It cited the Scottish government’s Help to Buy scheme as an aid to growth.

The scheme helps eligible buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% of the purchase price of a new-build home.

CITB also forecast that major housing projects would provide a boost to the sector.

They include a £100m eco village in Aberdeen and a £1.5bn sustainable housing development in the Douglas Valley.

The report by CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) suggested private housing, infrastructure and industrial projects would provide the biggest boosts for the industry in 2014.

However, the report added that average annual growth in output for the construction industry over the next five years was expected to be 2%, slightly below the rest of the UK.

‘Encouraging and challenging’

CITB Scotland director Graeme Ogilvy said the CSN figures were “both encouraging and challenging”.

He said: “The positive news for industry is that unemployment fell faster in Scotland in 2013 than anywhere else in the UK.

“However as an industry with the highest level of hard-to-fill vacancies, the onus is on ensuring there is a trained and highly-qualified workforce in the pipeline ready to fill almost 30,000 vacancies over the next five years.

“Projected growth across Scotland’s private housing sector growth will be pivotal to the industry’s growth over the next five years and we note the early success of the Scottish government’s Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme since its introduction in September 2013.”

He added: “As the second largest driver of growth, infrastructure will be every bit as significant for Scotland’s construction industry, with major projects such as the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the new Forth Replacement Crossing, to name just two, driving employment and output opportunities.”

[BBC News]