Thousands more workers needed for Midlands construction projects over next five years
Work on HS2, the £250m expansion of the Midland Metro and hundreds of new homes will help create 17,000 new jobs in the construction industry over the next five years, says a new report.
The construction industry's training organisation says that despite the collapse of Carillion, work on the M6 upgrade and Wolverhampton's canalside regeneration are driving growth.
Increasing amounts of building work mean 3,500 more carpenters and joiners will be needed to meet demand in the West Midlands, according to forecasts from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
One of the biggest areas of growth is infrastructure – work on roads and rail, underground gas and water pipes, telecommunications and electricity cabling.
Lorraine Gregory, CITB partnerships manager for the West Midlands, said: “Despite economic uncertainty brought on by Brexit and Carillion’s closure, the West Midlands construction sector is still very much set for growth, particularly in infrastructure.
“The outlook remains very positive, mainly due to major projects in the pipeline.
“Private and public housing are expected to continue to perform well particularly in 2018 and 2019 and housing in Birmingham is set to benefit from longer term plans for 89,000 homes through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust.
“This positive forecast should help to reassure the industry despite recent uncertainties and upheavals. The forecast for growth means that are great employment opportunities in construction in the West Midlands over the next few years. We will need talented new entrants coming in to work on these projects and ensure that construction continues to play a major role in boosting the local economy in the region.”
According to the CITB's latest Construction Skills Network report, overall construction output is set to grow at an annual average rate of 1.8 per cent per year between 2018 and 2022. While slightly down on last year, this is still higher than the national average of 1.3 per cent growth and will create almost 17,000 jobs in the region.
Planned road and rail projects will lead to strong growth, with the High Speed 2 rail link connecting London to Birmingham and beyond makes a significant contribution to the forecast. Other large projects bolstering output include the Wolverhampton Canalside and City Interchange project which is undergoing a £130m transformation and the M6 upgrade expected to start by March this year.
The region is also set to benefit from a recent commitment from Government to spend £250m on improving transport links as part of the new transforming cities fund. Much of the money will go on expanding the Metro tram system.
Plans have also been laid for hundreds of new houses across the region along with new apartment blocks – particularly in Birmingham.
The CSN forecasts that 3,500 carpenters, 3,050 technical staff and 2,050 process managers will be needed, along with steel erectors and structural fabrication workers, construction project managers, architects and supervisors.