Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, today spoke at the launch of a report which cites that thousands of additional construction jobs are needed in the Liverpool City Region in the coming years, with demand set to soar.
The report, written by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority using research by CITB, is set against the backdrop of future devolution of the adult education budget to the Metro Mayor from 2019/2020.
The document highlights that the sector has contributed over £25billion (GVA) to Liverpool City Region’s renaissance in the last 20 years – and predicts that projects such as Liverpool and Wirral Waters, as well as a number of housing developments, could mean an additional £1billion per year of construction activity by 2040.
However, a number of tests facing the City Region’s capability to meet the demand of future projects are foreseen within the report.
These challenges include:
- Out of a region of 1.5 million people, only 47,000 work in the industry; CITB have stated that “To meet anticipated demand, more than 65,000 construction workers are required for the foreseeable future.” (an increase of 18,000).
- Most companies employ less than 10 people – making it difficult for local businesses to bid in for large-scale contracts;
- Only 11% of the current workforce is female – creating a workforce not representative of the general population;
- And there is a higher than average proportion of workers over 55 – leaving big gap to fill before their retirement.
A working group which includes the City Region Combined Authority, employers and the City Region Construction and Built Environment Network have been tasked with specific actions over the coming months to ensure these challenges are tackled head-on.
Specific actions include: the shaping of adult education budget commissioning; improving careers engagement and progression; exploring the option of a social enterprise Apprenticeship Training Agency for Construction; and engaging with credible grassroots community organisations to encourage under-represented groups to take up opportunities in the sector.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:
“I spent most of my working life in the construction industry, after having started as an apprentice bricklayer at the age of 16 - and I have seen both the good times and bad – from the outside and in – of the industry’s fortunes across Liverpool City Region.
"During the recession-hit early 1980s, I was one of those in the trade that had to travel cross country to find work.But in many ways – the problem we have today is the reverse of the one we faced in the 80s and I believe we can more easily address the issue of ‘plenty of work and not enough workers’ - than ‘plenty of workers and not enough work’.
"Through meeting the specific actions in the report, as well as working hard to improve the industry’s image and get our messaging right, we can ensure a bright future for the industry throughout the whole city region.”
Portfolio holder for Education, Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships, Cllr Ian Maher, added:
“The findings of this report are mostly positive. We face a large pipeline of construction activity in the coming years which will bring economic growth to the city region. But to ensure workers in our area are able to benefit from these opportunities, we need to address demand shortage now – and that is exactly what this action plan is designed to do.”