Building skills for the future

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THE NORTH East construction industry will continue to face challenging conditions for the next two years, according to the latest figures from the Construction Skills Network (CSN).

Although total construction employment is predicted to rise by 8.8 per cent in the next four years, that would still leave the rate 7.6 per cent below the 2009 figure, when the recession was at its peak. The public non-housing sector is predicted to be almost entirely responsible for the poor performance of new work over the next five years, with cuts to Building Schools for the Future projects leaving the region in a vulnerable position.

Steve Housden is Sector Strategy Manager for ConstructionSkills in the North East:

“The results of this year’s CSN Report speak for themselves,” he said.

“The next couple of years will be touch and go for the industry, but in the medium and long term we will see steady growth. In these challenging conditions North East businesses need to develop a competitive edge to put them in the strongest position possible.

“Identifying emerging markets is one way of doing this – for example, the demand for low carbon solutions with homeowners.

“Also businesses should continue to invest in training and apprenticeships, to ensure they have the skilled workers in place for when demand increases.”