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December 23 2016
Over 50,000 construction professionals will be needed to fulfil projects anticipated up until 2020, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Speaking to civil engineering contractors at the London Transport Museum recently, Grayling commented that both highways and rail are going to see huge expansion in the next few year, necessitating a significant growth in the number of infrastructure workers in various sectors.
As Highways Magazine report, in 2020, road investment will hit peak construction, meaning that an extra 15,000 road-building professionals will be needed, including thousands of engineers. The same year sees Transport for London reach a peak phase, requiring a further 8,000 workers. According to Grayling, Phase One of the HS2 also promises an extra 27,000 construction job opportunities.
Grayling notes, that after 2020, these numbers are not likely to decline, as 2020 marks the year that the second Road Investment Strategy kicks in, and TFL will be preparing for HS2 Phase 2. He says that this will be:
“A far bigger project than Phase 1. And we’ll be pressing ahead with plans for Crossrail 2. And we should expect Heathrow’s 3rd runway to start construction around 2022.”
He points out that issue of the shortage in construction workers is “one compounded by demography.” Experts in the field are calling for progress in diversity in the workforce, as Grayling notes that less than one in ten engineers in the UK are women, and just four per cent come from ethnic minorities. With so many vacancies to be filled over the next few years, it is clear that the exclusions of the industry must be overcome.
Although this undoubtedly means that the future is bright for professionals and contractors, this increase in projects is likely to prompt a surge in competition. Many of the projects are run in the public sector, and thus Grayling has emphasised that,
“If you want to win contracts in transport and want to be part of the government’s investment programme then you must prepare to leave a skills footprint in this country.”
He claims that firms bidding for transport contracts must:
“Either hire and train one apprentice for every £3 to £5 million of the contract’s value; or, for every 200 people employed under the contract, create five apprenticeships for each year of the project.” For many, this will require significant attention to the employee experience, so consulting experts for specialist recruitment support services now may well be immensely fruitful going into a busy few years.