As well as being granted permission to proceed with London’s £27bn Crossrail 2 project, the latest construction news highlights the sheer number of green lights given to construction projects, not solely in London, but across the North of England. With landmark projects such as HS3, expansion to the M62 and improvements made to both the A69 and A66 all given the green light, optimism is rife for the benefits the improved infrastructure of these schemes will bring. Additionally, a study as to the feasibility for a Trans-Pennine tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield was also given the go ahead for further investigation.
Of course, the budget is, by very essence only a plan for development, yet with this plan clearly highlighting government dedication to improved infrastructure, the industry of tomorrow is one of great hope. And while direct benefits of the projects are some time down the line, with projects such as Crossrail 2 planned to be completed by approximately 2030, the industry is optimistically excited due to the volume of work the schemes will generate between now and then, with a vast number of construction jobs to be created in accordance.
Yet, despite a forecast rise in the availability of construction jobs, key to remind ourselves of is the availability of skilled workers in the industry. Firstly urging a focus on the availability of such skills onto and into the future, Clare Watson, Chair for the North West of the National Federation of Builders highlighted that: “Improving transport and infrastructure will not only improve business prospects, it will increase social mobility and widen the opportunities available in construction for the next generation.
With aforementioned plans already reported by the CITB to provide much-needed support in the training of tomorrow’s construction workforce, a clear effort is being made to shorten the skill gap, yet, with some 22,500 construction jobs to be created in the North West, even further emphasis throughout the sector is urged.