Healthy growth in construction

THE construction industry in the East of England is forecast to grow faster than any other UK region in the next five years – and require an average of 14,590 new recruits every year to meet the demand, a new report suggests. The Construction Skills Netwo

THE construction industry in the East of England is forecast to grow faster than any other UK region in the next five years - and require an average of 14,590 new recruits every year to meet the demand, a new report suggests.

The Construction Skills Network forecasts that the East of England will have output growth of 22.8 per cent for the period 2006-10, against a national average of 12.7 per cent.

By identifying exactly how many new recruits will be needed in each trade over the next five years to meet additional demand and account for industry leavers, the report also provides the industry with the information needed to ensure that every construction programme can be delivered.

The analysis of skills reveals a significant shortage of electricians, with an estimated annual average of 2,080 needed in the region each year, equivalent to 14 per cent of the total number of electricians across the UK.


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Also in demand are wood trades (such as carpentry and joinery) at 1,610 per year.

Professional positions, including managers, clerical staff, architects, engineers and other design and technical professionals are also expected to be in high demand.

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In total, the number of white collar workers the industry needs to recruit every year to 2010 in the East of England is forecast to be 6,060 - over 40 per cent of the region's annual workforce requirement.

Contrary to popular myth - and to the fears of Huntingdonshire businesses - the indications from the data at this stage are that the Olympics programme will not impact on the successful completion of regional construction projects.

Although the Olympics programme is high profile, has a value of around £2.5billion over the next seven years and will need an average workforce of 5,000 each year (peaking at 9,300 in 2010), it is not enough on its own to boost output significantly. The Construction Skills Network estimates that the Olympics programme will account for only 0.2 per cent of the UK's total construction workforce between now and 2010.

Adrian Bouckley, East of England regional manager of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: "A big challenge is to ensure that new and existing workers have the right qualifications, but we cannot do this alone. We call on the industry to help us build for the future by making investments in training, taking on apprentices and working with us to qualify the largest workforce in the UK.

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