North East to benefit from £15Bn construction investment

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A new study carried out by the CITB suggests some £15Bn of construction projects will be underway in the North East over the next five years.

The research was carried out in conjunction with North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and shows that there will be large infrastructure and new housing spends of £709M and £574M, respectively.

Major works due to be developed include the Science Park in Newcastle and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sunderland, while over 184 new housing projects are scheduled throughout the area up to 2021. Just one housing development will see the creation of over 1,000 new homes at the new Vaux Village on the old brewery site in Sunderland.

Details of the report come from analysis of planning applications, which anticipate the total volume of work substantially increasing as more applications are lodged.

However, the CITB has warned that this progress could be held back by a lack of skills. The research identifies current and future skills gaps in the region and examines the scope of construction training on offer in the North East LEP area. Several occupations are at risk of a shortfall of workers, including: carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and painters and decorators.

Jeremy Wright, Partnerships Manager for the North East at CITB, said: “This research clearly shows there’s a great deal of important construction work planned for the area over the next few years. While overall output in the North East is expected to decline, the volume of activity is still impressive but that presents challenges when it comes to getting the right skills in place.

“This research will be useful for the industry, training providers and local government to work together on a series of interventions to help narrow current and anticipated skills gaps. We want to avoid a situation whereby skills shortages are causing delays to any of these exciting projects.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Construction is a hugely important industry for the North East. There are over 70,000 construction employees in our area alone, many of whom work for small businesses that contribute enormously to the local economy.

“CITB’s research gives us a good overview of activity for the next few years which will help give confidence to the market. The North East LEP and the region as a whole is doing a lot of work to address skills shortages and ensure our workforce, both young and old, are equipped with the skills employers need.

“We’re improving careers advice and guidance for school children across the region as part of North East Ambition and we’re ensuring our older workforce have the opportunity to learn new skills to adapt to the labour market.

“By working in partnership with the business community we’re able to support schools, universities and other education providers to match the needs of industry and deliver a skilled workforce.”


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