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February 8, 2022

Suppliers appointed to £100m social housing ‘disruptors’ framework

18 suppliers have won spots on a Social Housing Emerging Disruptors (SHED) framework launched by Procurement for Housing so social landlords can compliantly procure cutting edge, innovative services and technologies to support with retrofit, development and fire safety targets. The framework is worth up to £100m over three years. Challenges

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PLP appoints Glencar on new 456,000 sq ft speculative big box unit in Crewe

Project constitutes the final phase of PLP’s prime employment park development at Basford West in Crewe. Glencar, a construction company that was recently ranked amongst Europe’s fastest growing businesses, has today announced that it has been awarded a project by specialist developer, manager and owner of UK logistics and industrial

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UK trails other European countries for new-build delivery

The latest research by the new-build sales optimisation platform, Unlatch, has found that the UK trails a number of other major European nations when it comes to the delivery of new homes during the pandemic, with France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany building more in relation to their respective population

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Buildings require billions more in capital investment to reach climate targets

– Climate targets across the world are accelerating the implementation of smart, decarbonized, energy-efficient buildings. – In order to meet climate change commitments however, building stock requires significantly higher investment – around 3 times the current rate. – Smart financing can enable greater rates of investment in a financially sustainable

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TERENCE COMPLETES APPRENTICESHIP DOUBLE – WITH A 50 YEAR GAP!

A shopfloor assistant at one of the UK’s leading builders merchants has completed his apprenticeship – a few months before turning 70. Terence Archer, who works for Selco Builders Warehouse in its Crayford branch, achieved a distinction in his Level Two Retailer working with training provider Realise. The achievement is

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Apprentices are the answer to skills shortage says Suffolk construction boss

A Suffolk construction boss has described apprentices as the answer to the industry’s skills shortage to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2022.   Simon Girling is the director of SEH French, an Ipswich-based firm operating across East Anglia, where apprentices make up 10% of the workforce.  Mr Girling, whose apprentices include carpenters

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024

February 8, 2022

Suppliers appointed to £100m social housing ‘disruptors’ framework

18 suppliers have won spots on a Social Housing Emerging Disruptors (SHED) framework launched by Procurement for Housing so social landlords can compliantly procure cutting edge, innovative services and technologies to support with retrofit, development and fire safety targets. The framework is worth up to £100m over three years. Challenges posed by Covid, materials and labour shortages, plus surging demand for low carbon, building safety and development works have created an unparalleled environment for housing providers. This is forcing them to search for fresh, non-traditional solutions to deliver competing strategic objectives. Public sector procurement has traditionally been seen as a barrier to innovation, introducing processes and bureaucracy that make it harder to buy emerging solutions from entrepreneurial SMEs and micro-organisations. Fledgling suppliers are unable to scale their solutions and invest in further innovation because buying teams can’t procure services compliantly under existing rules. Procurement for Housing has addressed these issues by creating a framework that is flexible, future-proof and light touch in terms of paperwork and procedure. A dedicated SHED portal will enable housing providers to conduct a simple desk-based supplier selection process. The portal will identify the supplier that can best meet their needs and PfH’s procurement team will provide pricing information and support the contracting process.  Innovators appointed to the SHED framework include Bimdl, a blockchain-backed building information modelling (BIM) solution; Power Circle Projects, which provides democratised, decentralised low carbon smart energy solutions; Chameleon Digitization an organisation using machine learning to spot dangerous gas canisters being taken into high rise buildings; Q-Bot, a robotic underfloor insulation installer and Green Action Trust which supports social landlords to improve the sustainability of their local environment. PfH worked with the Proptech Innovation Network to find suppliers at the forefront of housing technology, data and software solutions and service design to join the framework. A second generation SHED2 framework is due to launch in the Autumn of 2022. It will bring to market those innovations developed since the first framework launched. Neil Butters, head of procurement at PfH said:“Over the past 12 months, our members have been telling us about the perfect storm of challenges they’re facing with global supply chain disruption, a widespread skills crisis and huge pressure to meet fire safety, net zero and house building targets. There is urgent need for innovation that can help them address these problems, but public procurement regulations just haven’t caught up. Housing providers can’t compliantly buy the innovative services they need.” “The government is currently changing public procurement rules, but that reform might not come into force until 2023. We wanted to be brave and unpick the challenges around procuring innovation which is still a fairly intangible, transient category of goods and services. It was important we did that here and now for the sector, rather than sitting on our hands – no one else is really tackling it.” “Many of the suppliers we’ve appointed to the framework are small or micro businesses. We wanted to unlock their services for the social housing sector – these are pioneering, future-thinking organisations, many with a focus on sustainability or building safety. The SHED is about PfH supporting social landlords to identify and adopt innovation that will improve the lives of tenants.” For further information about the SHED framework visit https://procurementforhousing.co.uk/shed/

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PLP appoints Glencar on new 456,000 sq ft speculative big box unit in Crewe

Project constitutes the final phase of PLP’s prime employment park development at Basford West in Crewe. Glencar, a construction company that was recently ranked amongst Europe’s fastest growing businesses, has today announced that it has been awarded a project by specialist developer, manager and owner of UK logistics and industrial properties PLP to construct a new 456,736 sq ft (Crewe 460) speculative big box logistics unit at a prime development site at Basford West in Crewe. The project constitutes the final phase of PLP’s development on the prime employment park with construction work expected to start imminently and completion scheduled for December this year. It is Glencar’s third scheme for PLP, following the successful completion of the first phase at Crewe in 2020 and a further development at Ellesmere Port. Crewe 460 is being constructed to be a ‘best-in-class’ warehouse and logistics facility featuring 15M clear internal height, 72M deep service yard, three-story external offices of over 30,000 sq ft together with a separately accessed car park with 442 spaces. As with all PLP speculatively developed units, Crewe 460 will be constructed in accordance with the UK Green Building Council Carbon Net Zero standard. The design has been developed to minimise embodied carbon during construction. It also includes numerous measures to enable the end occupier to transition easily and affordably to carbon net zero operation including solar photovoltaics, air source heating and cooling, LED lighting and electric car charging points. Further, the building is designed for the occupier’s future flexibility such as a strengthened roof to enable full coverage of solar photovoltaics and underground infrastructure to allow 100% of all car and HGV parking spaces to have electric charging points. Talking about the contract award, Peter Goodman Glencar Managing Director Midlands and North said: “At Glencar we place great emphasis on long term customer relationships, and we are delighted to be working with the PLP team again to deliver this high quality big box development. Our recently opened Manchester office is now working on a growing number of projects across the North West and we continue to capitalise on the opportunities being driven by the levelling up agenda and the growth of the Northern Powerhouse.”   Phase 1 of PLP Crewe, comprising of two units of 92,500 sq ft and 43,000 sq ft also constructed by Glencar, was completed in 2020 and let immediately to Likewize (formerly Brightstar), the world’s leading provider of integrated solutions for the mobile and financial industries.

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UK trails other European countries for new-build delivery

The latest research by the new-build sales optimisation platform, Unlatch, has found that the UK trails a number of other major European nations when it comes to the delivery of new homes during the pandemic, with France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany building more in relation to their respective population sizes. Unlatch analysed market data on the number of new homes completed during the first year of the pandemic across eight major European nations. They then looked at how this performance stacks up when considering the population size of each nation to reveal the number of new-build properties delivered for every 100,000 people.  European new-build performance During 2020, the UK new-build sector delivered a respectable 175,180 new homes to market, a substantially higher total than Spain (77,500), the Netherlands (69,300), Belgium (62,700), Italy (49,100) and Portugal (17,300).  However, the UK trailed far behind both Germany where 306,400 new homes were built and France, with a huge 381,600 new-builds completed in a single year.  When comparing this annual performance to the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019, Portugal sits top, with 20% more new homes built despite the problems posed by the pandemic.  Spain saw an 8% increase in the number of new homes completed, with Belgium and Germany also seeing a 5% uplift.  However, the Netherlands (-2%), Italy (-11%), France (-15%) and the UK (-18%) all saw a decline in new-build completions during the first year of the pandemic.  New-build completions in relation to population size Unlatch then analysed new-build performance during the pandemic (2020) in relation to the population size of each nation.  France ranks as the new-build hotspot in this respect, with 566 new homes built for every 100,000 people in 2020. Belgium sits second (543), followed by the Netherlands (397) and Germany (368). At just 261 new homes built for every 100,000 people during 2020, the UK sits in the bottom half of the table, with just Portugal (168), Spain (164) and Italy (82) seeing a lower level of new stock delivered. Lee Martin, Head of UK for Unlatch says: “In terms of total volume, the UK new-build market is certainly up there as one of the strongest in Europe with just two other nations seeing completions exceed the 100,000 mark in what was a very tricky first year of the pandemic.  However, when you take population size and the arguably greater need for new homes into account, the UK’s performance doesn’t fair as well when compared to our European counterparts. In France, which is home to a similar population size as the UK, more than double the number of new homes were delivered to market in 2020. There’s a great deal that’s different about the new homes sector in each county, but there’s also a lot we could stand to learn from each other when it comes to both the construction process itself, as well as the consumer facing sales process.” Data on UK new-build completions sourced from Gov.uk , Gov.wales, Gov.scot and finance-ni.gov.ukData on European new-build completions sourced from World Bank

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Renewable energy sources the driving force behind new utilities construction

In value terms, 79% of energy generation construction projects over the past five years have been related to renewable energy, with gas and nuclear representing a combined 21%. While construction projects for energy generation using solar power represent the largest proportion of contract awards by volume; in value terms, solar projects represent just 4% of total value across energy related construction projects.  Laura Pardoe, Product Manager at AMA Research and editor of the Utilities Construction: Gas and Electric Market Report comments “This is an incredibly exciting time to be monitoring construction in the energy sector and charting the real time transition to renewable sources of energy generation. There has been a 70% increase in electricity generation from renewables since 2016; over the same period 80% of contract awards have been for low carbon options showing a clear direction of future travel. Twin forces driving for energy security and carbon neutrality mean construction projects are focused on sustainable energy generation utilising natural resources.” In the period 2016 to 2021(Q2), projects in the wind sector (onshore and offshore) made up just under half of all energy generation projects, by value, and 58% of all renewable projects. Increasing generation from wind and solar is the focus to further increase renewable generation to deliver on the net zero target by 2050. While the bulk of generation needed is planned to be provided by renewables, there is also need for more reliable sources of power such as nuclear or power stations that burn hydrogen or gas with carbon capture and storage. In 2020 UK electricity construction contributed 41% of total infrastructure work, an increase from 24% in 2019. Electricity construction output grew 66% year on year in 2020. Electricity is likely to remain a key driver of growth into the medium-term within the gas and electricity market as generation capacity is renewed and larger-scale renewables generation, particularly offshore wind and biomass, is commissioned.

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Buildings require billions more in capital investment to reach climate targets

– Climate targets across the world are accelerating the implementation of smart, decarbonized, energy-efficient buildings. – In order to meet climate change commitments however, building stock requires significantly higher investment – around 3 times the current rate. – Smart financing can enable greater rates of investment in a financially sustainable way. – New research from Siemens Financial Services (SFS) estimates the ‘investment gap’ between current investment levels in energy efficient renovation of buildings stock, and those needed to achieve decarbonization targets in 4 regions across 3 sectors. Siemens Financial Services (SFS) has released a new insight study entitled “Financing Decarbonization: Smart Buildings” which estimates the ‘investment gap’ between current levels of investment in renovating the office, hospital, and education estate and the actual level needed to meet accelerated decarbonization targets by 2050. Part of a series on financing decarbonization, the research focuses on buildings – which account for 36% of final energy use – as a prime target for energy efficiency initiatives, and a major potential contributor to climate target attainment. The ‘gap’ represents a substantial shortcoming in each of the 4 countries studied, specifically: USA ($5.3bn for offices, $1bn for hospitals, $3.8bn for education) China ($12.7bn, $2.7bn, and $10.8bn respectively) India ($0.9bn, $0.6bn, and $6.2bn respectively), and Europe ($7.8bn, $2.2bn, and $5.5bn respectively). The research finds that smart buildings – which incorporate hot-desking, health and safety, information access controls, security, infection mitigation, and much more – are best suited to ensure more efficient use of commercial and public buildings, significantly reduced energy usage and emissions, and the transformation of buildings into far more sustainable assets for society. In order to bridge the gap between current investment levels and the required volumes, smart financing methods are being offered by private sector finance.  These solutions seek to make the conversion to decarbonized, energy-efficient, smart buildings affordable for owners. Financing tools can ease cash flow and align costs to the rate of benefits gained. Smart financing also has the potential to make the transition to decarbonization budget neutral, by harnessing future savings to pay for current investment. “Our use of buildings has been disrupted and altered by the pandemic,” says Jo Harris, Sales Director, Commercial Finance UK, Siemens Financial Services. “Not only can smarter building stock better cope with this change, it will contribute significantly to a cleaner and greener future. Smart financing solutions can accelerate the rate of transformation, helping buildings owners to achieve net-zero carbon building stock by 2050. Methodology Proprietary data from Siemens Financial Services on cost of energy efficiency renovation per m2 (existing buildings) was applied to total m2 of the hospital, office and education estate for each country/region studied. The total cost of energy efficiency renovation was calculated based on the Global Alliance for Building and Construction’s estimate of the % of building stock that would have to be converted by 2040 to meet current climate targets (rising to 2% by 2030 and 3% by 2040). Then, the cumulative % of actual current renovation rates (approx. 1% of existing building stock) was projected to 2040 and the cost of renovation calculated at those current rates. The Investment Gap is the difference between current energy efficiency renovation rates and the projected rate of renovation needed to meet climate targets. For further information, please see: www.siemens.com/financing-decarbonization-smart-buildings For further information on SFS, please see www.siemens.com/finance

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TERENCE COMPLETES APPRENTICESHIP DOUBLE – WITH A 50 YEAR GAP!

A shopfloor assistant at one of the UK’s leading builders merchants has completed his apprenticeship – a few months before turning 70. Terence Archer, who works for Selco Builders Warehouse in its Crayford branch, achieved a distinction in his Level Two Retailer working with training provider Realise. The achievement is all the more remarkable as Terence, who turns 70 in April, left school with no qualifications at 15 and has now made the grade in English and Maths as part of his recent studies. Terence, who completed a carpentry apprenticeship 50 years ago and speaking as part of National Apprenticeship Week, said: “It just goes to show you are never too old to complete an apprenticeship. “I’m really proud of myself because I pushed out of my boundaries to achieve this. “I’ve only been in retail for two-and-a-half years and wanted to learn as much as possible to be as good at the job as I can. “The opportunity to complete an apprenticeship came up from Selco and I jumped at the chance. “Part of the qualification was to achieve functional skills in English and Maths which I didn’t achieve at school. “I also had to learn a lot of new IT skills from pretty much scratch and that was difficult. “There were many times when I wanted to give up but my trainers at Realise were brilliant at helping me through the tough periods and keeping me going. I’m very glad I got to the end and achieved a distinction.” Terence – who was a carpenter and then became a general builder – completed his apprenticeship as part of Selco’s Rising Stars programme which is designed to help colleagues upskill and progress their careers. As part of his Bronze Rising Stars qualification, Terence completed 16 modules including business management and brand reputation, customer and communication, product and services, stock and merchandising and team and performance. He added: “I started at Selco because, after I retired from building, I got bored sitting around at home and wanted to keep busy. “I never dreamt at that stage I would do an apprenticeship but I’m so glad I have and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. “I would encourage anybody thinking of doing an apprenticeship – whatever their age or occupation – to go ahead with it. It’s extremely rewarding and, for people far younger than me, can be crucial in them enhancing their careers. “If I was a few years younger, I would certainly do another one but I think that’s me done for now.” With hundreds of trade brands always in stock, Selco’s 72 branches are firmly focused on helping tradespeople complete their jobs as quickly and effectively as possible. As well as offering trade services, Selco also has a strong digital presence including Click & Deliver, a Click & Collect services.

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Carrier Billing Spend to Reach $73.8 Billion Globally by 2024, as 5G Networks Increase Content Consumption

Growth of 36% between 2021 and 2024 A new Juniper Research study has predicted that end user spend via carrier billing will increase to $73.8 billion in 2024, from $54.4 billion in 2021, with growth driven by 5G-based mobile gaming and video subscriptions. To leverage this growth, the report advises operators to forge new partnerships with content providers to build frameworks enabling the distribution of new content paid for by carrier billing. The new report, Carrier Billing: Opportunities, Challenges & Market Forecasts 2022-2026, also expects carrier billing spend on content bundling to enable operators to further recoup investments into 5G by charging a premium to facilitate high-quality video and games streaming over 5G networks. To maximise this opportunity, it urges operators to offer payment services in markets underserved by existing digital payment methods to maximise carrier billing spend. For more insights, download the free whitepaper: Carrier Billing ~ Leveraging the 5G Opportunity Indian Subcontinent Identified as Key Opportunity Operators must expand the geographical reach of carrier billing; leveraging the trust fostered between them and their subscribers, and becoming increasingly valuable partners to content providers. It identified the Indian Subcontinent as a key target region for carrier billing stakeholders over the next two years, with smartphone penetration in the region expected to reach 50% by 2024. New Opportunities in the Transit Sector The research also found carrier billing spend on digital ticket purchases will grow by 250%, from $141 billion in 2021 to $275 billion in 2024. It predicts that the rise of new transportation modes, such as MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) will drive carrier billing spend for transit services by offering an improved user experience across a single app that leverages carrier billing to process the payment. Additionally, RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging will provide an interface between MaaS users and transit service providers; offering real-time travel updates. Research author Susannah Hampton says: “Operators should focus on demonstrating their relevance to transit; driving the further growth of carrier billing via an improved range of technology partnerships.”

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Goodman launches 500,000 sq ft of next-generation logistics space in M25 distribution hotspot+

Goodman completes 500,000 sq ft Crossways Commercial Park, Dartford M25-adjacent location places 10.4 million consumers within a 60-minute HGV drive-time, with a purchasing power of £268.1 billion* One of Goodman’s most sustainable UK developments and the first to feature full rooftop solar PV Properties available for immediate occupation To meet rising demand for sustainable logistics space with easy access to consumer markets, Goodman has launched a 500,000 sq ft site in M25 e-commerce hotspot, Dartford. This is the first of its UK portfolio to feature full rooftops of solar PV as it accelerates its commitment to low carbon technologies. Available for immediate occupation and comprising three high-specification units of 240,884 sq ft, 138,062 sq ft and 101,659 sq ft, Crossways Commercial Park offers state-of-the-art facilities for customers across retail, e-commerce and logistics. With direct access to Junction 1a of the M25, the site’s fast connections to London and the national motorway network place 10.4 million consumers within a 60-minute HGV drive-time with a purchasing power of £268.1 billion*. Kent’s excellent freight links to the Channel Tunnel, Port of Dover and London Thamesport also make the facilities ideal for businesses serving UK, European and international markets. Crossways Commercial Park is among Goodman’s most sustainable UK developments and is the first to feature a full rooftop array of solar photovoltaics (PV) across each building. The 2.2MW system will generate a combined annual power output of almost two million kWh – equivalent to removing 435 tons of carbon from the atmosphere or planting 20,727 trees. Designed to support customers decarbonise their operations, Crossways Commercial Park features solar thermal hot water, solar heating for office areas and other sustainable features including electric vehicle (EV) charging points, infrastructure for EV fleets, rainwater harvesting and smart metering, to help monitor and reduce energy consumption. Delivered to a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ specification and achieving an A+ energy rating, each building also features a carbon neutral cladding system, designed to meet ‘chill-store’ and ambient product storage requirements. George Glennie, Development Director at Goodman, said: “Crossways Commercial Park is a prime example of Goodman’s global focus on delivering sustainable properties that utilise the latest innovations in design, construction and energy generation. “Not only is it our most sustainable property in the UK, but it sets a standard for future properties we will be developing. Its strategic location is also set to drive supply chain efficiencies for our customers, placing them closer to consumers which in turn drives down transport emissions.” The launch of Crossways Commercial Park also follows Goodman UK achieving a 5 Star Rating in the Development benchmark by GRESB, a leading sustainability assessment for the real estate sector.    Glennie added: “Through developments such as Crossways Commercial Park, we are realising our ambition to deliver properties that can meet our customers’ needs now and into the future.” Crossways Commercial Park adds to Dartford’s reputation as a thriving distribution and supply chain destination, with more than 4,000 people employed in logistics and e-commerce**. Part of an established business park spanning 300-acres, the development offers customers excellent on-site amenities in an attractive, landscaped setting. Employees will also benefit from a range of dedicated public transport options, helping to support recruitment and staff retention. Gavin Cleary, CEO at Locate in Kent, said, “We welcome this outstanding new facility in Dartford. Goodman is not only meeting the demand for high quality, well connected space in Kent, but is also responding to the very strong desire from international companies to have sustainable, environmentally-conscious and future-facing facilities in the UK. “This investment once again demonstrates why Kent is perfectly placed for logistics and distribution companies wishing to expand operations and maximise their potential.” For further information and to enquire about Crossways 102, 138 and 241, please visit:  https://uk.goodman.com/properties-for-lease/crossways-commercial-park.

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BALFOUR BEATTY SELECTED AS PREFERRED BIDDER ON BAKERHICKS DESIGNED HMP HIGHLAND

Leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has been awarded the contract for the First Stage of the Scottish Prison Service’s (SPS) project for the Design and Construction of HMP Highland, designed by the design, engineering and project delivery company, BakerHicks. This marks a milestone in the SPS’ plans to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement for HMP Inverness. The first new prison in the Scottish Highlands for more than a century, HMP Highland will serve the Highlands, Islands and Moray areas, holding up to 200 offenders in purposely designed accommodation units. The SPS mission is to transform the lives of people in their care so they can fulfil their potential and become responsible citizens. The new prison represents a step-change in prison design and service delivery for the Highlands and has been developed taking full consideration of Highland Council’s Sustainable Design Guide. It is also designed to be community facing; to be physically part of the community and help offenders reintegrate back into the local communities from which they came. The strategic aims of the prison include delivery of a range of innovative practices in order to stimulate, promote and sustain cultural change within a custodial environment that is more humane, civilised and positively supports offender rehabilitation, reducing recidivism. The prison will build upon the existing community links of HMP Inverness and enable improved service delivery, whilst also improving the experience of visitors to the prison. Architecturally, the entrance building takes the form of a central roundhouse with an integrated family centre as a focal point for visitors; historically roundhouses were used by communities not only as homes but as places of work and for communities to come together in. The main building reflects the flow of the River Ness and the colours of the Highland scenery. The long winding wave building form through the site means that, from street level, the building can never be viewed in its entirety and is not visibly institutional or custodial in the architectural concept or design of the public facing elements. Internally the focus has been on delivering good design in communal and service delivery areas for staff, visitors and prisoners which are modern, but also secure, safe and ordered. Sustainability is also a major focus of the design, with energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions on site integral to the design in line with Scottish Government guidance on securing green recovery on the path to transitioning to net zero emissions by 2045. BakerHicks have been involved in the project from the early stages following their award of the contract for the concept design through the SPS framework in 2016. They have provided multi-disciplinary services on the project throughout the design stages, including architectural, civil & structural, mechanical & electrical, and principal designer services. Laura James, Head of Scotland at BakerHicks, says the company’s considerable experience and expertise in the custodial sector helped shape the design process: “We are proud of our continued work with SPS, helping them to achieve their objectives in delivering new and best-in-class prison facilities across the country. “Our design team have been working on this project since its inception, and it is genuinely ground-breaking in terms of custodial design. This new style of prison creates an environment that helps aid rehabilitation, as well as being more inviting for visitors and family members. It is a far cry from the oppressive prison buildings of the past and I am excited to have the opportunity to have seen the building develop from its original concept right through to construction and completion.” Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty, also provided the following comment: “We are delighted to be engaged by SPS to work up the detailed design and delivery of the new HMP Highland. We will draw on our extensive expertise in Modern Methods of Construction and Decarbonisation to deliver this ground-breaking new facility.” Teresa Medhurst, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “The investment that we have received from the Scottish Government means that we can continue to develop a prison estate which is fit for purpose for the 21st century. The award of the pre-construction services contract to Balfour Beatty represents a significant step forward in delivering HMP Highland.”

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Apprentices are the answer to skills shortage says Suffolk construction boss

A Suffolk construction boss has described apprentices as the answer to the industry’s skills shortage to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2022.   Simon Girling is the director of SEH French, an Ipswich-based firm operating across East Anglia, where apprentices make up 10% of the workforce.  Mr Girling, whose apprentices include carpenters and quantity surveyors, said: “The construction industry, like many others, has got a major skills shortage. It’s something that has been ongoing and is probably only going to get worse. We’re certainly seeing the effects of it now more than ever when trying to recruit people.”  The skills shortage in the industry has been well-documented over the years and that will likely remain unchanged, as it’s forecast 217,000 new workers will be needed by 2025 to meet demands according to the Construction Skills Network.  Shortages are largely due to an ageing workforce which doesn’t have enough young people to replace them as they reach retirement.   Data from the Office for National Statistics showed between October and December 2021, there were 42,000 job vacancies in construction.  SEH French thinks investing time and money in bringing new people into the industry, such as apprentices, will help alleviate the strain present in construction while providing young people with more opportunities.   Simon continued: “Bringing in new people into any industry is beneficial, young people bring fresh ideas. They [apprentices] live, develop and grow with us as people and in their trade or profession.   “Apprentices help support our senior staff which in turn helps us operate and have better capabilities for meeting our client’s requirements and our own workloads.   “Their on-the-job training teaches them how to work to our high standards and how to work as a team. It’s really important to be able to train them to how we want them to work and grow into a professional person.”  National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is the 15th annual event aimed at celebrating the positive impact apprenticeships make to businesses and communities.  With this year’s theme being ‘build the future’, Mr Girling thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for construction companies to recognise benefits of apprenticeships.   He continued: “It’s important for us to contribute to bringing new people into the industry. I think companies have an obligation to do that and to help alleviate some of them problems with skills shortages.”  SEH French remains keen to create opportunities for more young people across the region, and people are advised to check their careers page for future vacancies.  For more information, please visit www.sehfrench.co.uk.  

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