Manchester’s booming construction growth could be halted by skills shortage

Manchester’s construction sector is at an all-time high, with 30 building projects currently under way in the city.  

Most recently, research from data scientists Adzuna revealed that the city topped the charts for the most trade and construction jobs outside of London, with skilled joiners and plasterers in high demand as the city goes for growth.

But therein reveals the problem- a booming construction market has racked up demand for skilled workers, but as more and more projects spring up, the pool of workers gets ever drier.

Wages for in-demand trades like joinery have rocketed by 20 pc in a single year- putting pressure on contractors as costs are driven up, increasing the risk of many projects becoming unaffordable to complete.

Meanwhile, the shortage of skills is delaying some projects and forcing others to rush completion at the risk of poor quality work.

This could ultimately mean that Manchester’s record growth could come to a sudden halt.

So how can the city rectify the problem?

Stuart Anderson from Construction Skills People, which delivers a wide range of vocational qualifications and commercial training courses specifically for the construction sector, said: “Since 2007, the industry has lost over 250,000 skilled people.

“An aging workforce and the cyclic nature of the industry has created a real skills shortage, which is threatening future growth- as seen in Manchester.

“Demand for skilled workers is showing no sign of stopping.

“Upskilling the next generation could be the long-term solution to plugging the gap and future-proofing the industry.

“For a short term fix, contractors can also do their bit to attract workers. A safe, clean environment is a good place to start, and encouraging on-site learning and professional development will ultimately push current construction workers to remain in the industry.”

Slips and trips account for ‘staggeringly high’ number of workplace injuries

The most up to date report released by the Health and Safety Executive has named slipping and tripping as the single most common cause of injuries in UK workplaces including construction sites.

Accounting for around 30% of total incidents, the worrying statistics show that approximately 1000 cases resulted in broken bones or dislocations; with the latest data also showing that there were 609,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17, and a further 70,116 employer reported injuries.

And yet despite the staggeringly high figures, experts operating in the health and safety arena argue that many such injuries could be avoided with the implementation of effective management of access routes and working areas.

Stuart Anderson from Construction Skills People, which delivers a wide range of vocational qualifications and commercial training courses specifically for the construction sector, said: “Like many workplaces, construction sites can be dangerous places if people fail to follow the appropriate health and safety measures in place to protect them, and others around them.

“Whilst slips and trips are not responsible for the majority of fatalities that happen in the industry, they are responsible for a staggeringly high portion of broken bones and dislocations; and in many cases such injuries were wholly avoidable.

“It is vital that construction sites are well-managed and kept clean and orderly to reduce the risk of injury and accidents, and to ensure that everyone makes it safely home to their loved ones at the end of every day.”

According to Anderson a lack of clear walkways, obstacles and wet surfaces are often to blame for the incidents that occur.

He said: “One of the most common causes of slips and trips can be avoided by providing clear walkways that are clearly marked and signposted, and provided with adequate lighting. Where changes in level are unavoidable, such as in doorways, consider installing ramps. And if that is not possible, make sure that any changes in level are well signposted.

“Similarly, some slips and trips are caused by building materials or waste getting in the way. This can be avoided by ensuring workers keep their work and storage units tidy, designating specific areas for waste such as skips and bins, and planning deliveries well in advance to minimise the amount of materials on site.

“Making sure than any slippery areas are well signposted and cover with stone or grit to provide traction is another key action, whilst also ensuring than correct footwear is worn at all times.”

He went on to advise that where possible run cables at high level to avoid trips.

“Such changes and implementations may seem small, and inconsequential,” he continued, “but they can have a really positive impact on the well-being of those people who are working onsite.”

UK Construction industry experiences fastest growth in 14 months

According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the UK construction industry is experiencing its fastest rate of expansion in more than a year.

The PMI increased to 55.8 in July, up from 53.1 in the previous month, which goes against predictions of a slump, and represents the most significant increase in 14 months.

This recent growth is a positive step for the industry, which was hindered by poor weather conditions at the start of 2018, and an estimated £2 billion loss as a result of the Beast from the east.

Recently though, the construction industry has experienced a boost, with the highest rate of housebuilding and sector employment since 2015.

Stuart Anderson of Construction Skills People said: “It’s promising to see the industry pick up from its lacklustre start to 2018.

“The recent boom in housebuilding and a boost from government funding has no doubt pushed the industry towards this faster rate of growth.

“While there are growing concerns surrounding Brexit leading to a drop in confidence, it looks like the industry is set to continue on its growth trajectory, with construction output predicted to accelerate in 2019 and 2020.”

More young people needed to join the Construction industry according to research

Recent research carried out by Arcadis suggests that the UK construction sector needs to hire a staggering 400,000 people each year to meet growing demands.

As GCSE and A-Level results are published this month, as well as Brexit, and an ageing workforce struggling to meet new demands, PBC Today suggest that there has never been a better time to encourage young people to take up a career in construction.

New research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) states that the younger the generation, the more likely people were to feel pressured into attending University, rather than joining the workforce, with 50% of current 18-24 year olds feeling the push.

The CCS Best Practise ‘Spotlight on…. the next generation’ suggests that the key to attracting the next generation is by recasting construction in a positive light; not only as a professional industry with a range of opportunities, but as a sector with the potential to shape communities and improve people’s lives.

As well as changing perceptions, adequate training is crucial to supporting young people who choose to enter the industry. Promoting essential training could be the key to encouraging a younger demographic of people to join the industry, as well as meeting the sector’s growing demands.

We offer a comprehensive range of training. For further information on our courses, visit: https://www.constructionskillspeople.com/training-course-overview/

ONS Stats Reveal Increase in Construction Output for 2018 Q2

The latest data release from the Office for National Statistics has shown that construction output rose 0.9% in the second quarter of the year, following a 0.8% fall in Q1 – with activity disrupted by the severe weather conditions across the UK.

The figures show that output was up 0.8% on the same period the previous year, and revealed that the quarterly industry output matched the level recorded at the end of 2017 at £40.9 billion,.

According to the key facts of the report, the quarter-on-quarter increase was driven by a 2.7% increase in repair and maintenance work, with all new work remaining flat.

Although June 2018 month-on-month growth was driven predominantly by the continued growth in infrastructure new work, which increased by 9.2%.

Speaking to press regarding the latest statistics Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the Construction Products Association, said, “As expected, construction has caught up from its troubled start to the year, with strong growth in May and June as the warmer weather improved ground conditions for sites that stalled during February and March. The industry’s catch-up also helped drive the pickup in Q2 GDP growth to 0.4%.

“As much as it has been a tale of two quarters, there has also been a divergence by type of work. New build activity was unchanged from Q1 and was 0.4% lower than 2017 Q4, as rises in public housing, infrastructure and industrial output were offset by falls in private housing and public sector work. However, all repair and maintenance (R&M) activity rose 2.7% to a record high of £14.2 billion and is now 0.8% higher than at the end of 2017.”

The UK Construction industry sees a return to growth

The industry records its strongest growth rate in seven months despite challenges of the ‘Beast from the East’

The UK construction sector is entering its third month of continuous growth, and is seeing greater activity and higher recruitment levels,  marking the return of optimism to the sector.

Last month, the UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index released data that revealed that growth in both residential and commercial property was at its highest level in the last seven months, and new orders are being received at the fastest recorded rate since May 2017.

Moreover, recruitment levels are up. To date, they are increasing faster than in the previous 12 months; this increase in demand has resulted in the highest increase in input prices since September 2017.

These developments have come as a surprise to many due to the negative forecasts during the beginning of 2018. The ‘Beast from the East’ saw a cold start to the year, and these severe weather conditions negatively affected the building sector, with February and March recording a significant downturn.

The gauge of activity on the purchasing managers index – on which anything above 50 reflects growth in economic activity – rose from 52.5% to 53.1% in May: the highest level in seven months. This defied economist’ expectations of a static reading.

Optimism in the industry is said to remain highest in the north-west, West Midlands, and Bristol. In these areas the market is said to remain buoyant. However, even London is seeing improvement in sentiment.

While these figure are somewhat flattered by comparison to the weaker data that was recorded at the beginning of the year, there has been a genuine increase in momentum, revealed through the increase in both growth and recruitment.

North West Regional Construction Awards 2018 winners announced

The construction industry in the North West celebrated the achievements of the region’s best projects, organisations and individuals last week at a glittering event attended by 415 guests in Manchester.

Marking the 12th annual North West Construction awards, a ceremony and dinner was hosted by the University of Salford, The Centre for Construction Innovation and Constructing Excellence at the Principal Hotel on July 6th.

A total of 18 awards were given out over the duration of the evening for outstanding examples in categories such as health, safety & wellbeing, and offsite construction.

Head judge Professor Peter McDermott from the University of Salford said: “The judges were faced with a difficult task this year, given the incredibly high standard of submissions. It is a privilege to witness how the sector in the North West is responding to both the challenges of the market place and a changing policy environment.

Winners from certain categories will now be put forward for the Constructing Excellence National Final, which will take place later in the year.

The awards are hosted by the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford, Constructing Excellence North West and the Centre for Construction Innovation.

Some of winners included:

Health, Safety & Wellbeing Award

Winner: Safety First and Foremost, NG Bailey

People Development Award

Winner: Manchester & Cheshire Construction Co

SME of the Year

Winner: Lowbury Construction

Highly commended: MBC Building Contractors NW

200 mile bike ride delivers funding boost for Nottingham Breast Institute

Last weekend saw a group of amateur cyclists take on a 19 hour, 200 mile bike ride from Edinburgh to Newcastle to raise valuable funds for the Nottingham Breast Institute.

Taking part in the gruelling challenge was our own Construction Skills People’s (CSP’s) Group Operations Director, Amanda Warham, who joined more than 40 other cyclists – raising a combined £50,000 which will go towards purchasing a new mammography machine.

It was the group’s second mission, following a ‘Coast to Coast’ encounter in 2012 which saw them raise just over £100,000 for the cause.

Amanda Warham said: “We are not professional cyclists, so 200 miles from Edinburgh to Newcastle in three days was a huge challenge – especially trying to fit the training in around jobs, children and other commitments.

“It’s a great cause though, and thanks to family and friends whose support meant we are able to complete the ride.”

The £1,100 total raised by Amanda is being matched by Construction Skills People (CSP) – taking her total to £2200.

The Nottingham Breast Institute provides all outpatient services for those requiring diagnosis or receiving treatment in the Nottingham area. Approximately 35,000 patients will visit the Breast Institute every year.

Construction Skills People CEO, Adrian Woodhouse, said: “This is a commendable goal for a very worthwhile cause, and so we’re incredibly proud of Amanda taking on this daunting challenge. We’re delighted to be able to further bolster the funds raised by this determined team.”

Donations to the casue can be made via the fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/phil-amanda-warham

APPG to make recommendations on how to reduce injuries caused by falls from height

The All Party Parliamentary Group for ‘Working at Height’ has launched an investigation into the root causes of incidents in a bid to drive down the number of serious injuries and fatalities that occur annually.

As part of a consultation that closed in March of this year, industry members were asked a series of questions including what more could be done to share good practice, whether there are any measures that are considered necessary but not required by law, and whether they had any comments with regards existing regulations.

Over 60 responses were received from relevant organisations, including leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty.

The committee, which is Chaired by Scottish National Party member Alison Thewliss, are now awaiting a report outlining the findings, following which it will ‘seek to propose effective, sensible measures’ to reduce the toll and ‘send people safely home from work’.

According to the APPG’s website, falls from height and falling objects from height account for the highest number of preventable fatalities and injuries across all sectors in UK industry.

The group, which was established in late 2017 and has members spanning all of the key parties – including Labour’s Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss, and Conservative MP for Torbay, Kevin Foster – held its first oral session in March of this year.

During the meeting the committee heard from motivational speaker and falls survivor Jason Anker who was paralysed from the waist down due to an avoidable incident on a construction site in 1993 when he was just 24 years old.

Stuart Anderson of Construction Skills People said: “We welcome any and all efforts to drive down the number of serious injuries and fatalities caused by falls from height.

“The devastating, and often avoidable consequences of such incidents cannot be ignored, and we look forward to reading the findings of this initial investigation and to hearing what measures for prevention the APPG members are going to put forward.”

Construction Skills People partners with Help for Heroes to provide vocational training

 

The international charity Help for Heroes has joined forces with Wiltshire Wild Life trust to provided qualifications to veterans who have been injured in conflict.

The vocational training, which is run by national training provider Construction Skills People, takes place at Tedworth House in Tidworth, Wiltshire, a recovery centre available to all wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel, Veterans and their loved ones.

As part of a recent qualification in excavation the Veterans were given practical, hands-on training creating a new wildlife pond, and a new woodland camp construction in the Tedworth House grounds.

Such training is extremely valuable in supporting and increasingly the employability of the veterans. Unemployment is a significant issue for ex-military personnel; indeed, a 2014 study found that veterans are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed than civilians, with 8% of ex-military personnel found unemployed.

Construction Skills People are the country’s largest provider of commercial and Government funded training to the UK’s construction sector. The qualifications they offer the veterans gives them the skills to continue into employment, and readjust to life outside the army.

Construction Skills People are dedicated to delivering training solutions, with training centres available nationwide. However, it is their ability to deliver courses onsite, where it is convenient, which allowed them to take on the opportunity to partner with Help for Heroes, and offer training courses at Tedworth House Recover Centre.

For further information regarding the training courses Construction Skills People offer, and which of these courses may be relevant to you, visit: https://www.constructionskillspeople.com/training-course-overview/