The new Metro Mayor must address the skills shortage in the region’s construction industry if it is to meet the housing and infrastructure needs of our local communities, says professional services firm JLL.
Simon Peacock, lead director at property consultancy JLL in the South West and Wales, who is based in Bristol, said: “Whilst the election of our new Metro Mayor should mean a more strategic approach to crucial issues such as housing and transport, if the construction skills gap is not tackled, this will stand in the way of the delivery of such projects.”
Simon Peacock made the comments on the day the new Metro Mayor for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset is being elected.
He said: “The UK lost around 300,000 construction workers in the years following the 2008 financial crisis and, of those remaining, 22 per cent are over 50 and 12 per cent are from the European Union. This means skills shortages may be further exacerbated given the government rhetoric around immigration policy, combined with the effects of the falling pound on the earning power of EU workers in their domestic currencies.”
One of the consequences of the construction skills gap is rising build costs, meaning that as prices go up, the scale of the housing, infrastructure and other projects that can be delivered reduces.
Peacock added that there is a real opportunity for the Department of Work and Pensions, Metro Mayor and Bristol Mayor to work together to support the unemployed back into the labour force, in particular the construction industry where skilled workers are so desperately needed.