http://blogs.birminghampost.co.uk/business/

It's not all doom and gloom

By Peter Owen on Feb 1, 13 03:35 PM in Construction


It's been a gloomy start to 2013 for the construction industry, particularly for contractors based in the West Midlands.

According to the Construction Skills Network (CSN) report by training organisation CITB-ConstructionSkills, the region will see a decline in construction output of 1.4 per cent annually between now and 2017, the worst outlook in the country.

The decline is even steeper, some 10.9 per cent, for those working outside the public housing sector.

As a result of the decline in workload, employment is also set to contract. The survey predicts a fall of 2.8 per cent every year over the next five years. In 2013, allegedly just 0.5 per cent of employment in the region will come from the sector.

Against this backdrop, Willmott Dixon has invested £1m in the 4Life academy in Aston, Birmingham.

The name 4Life is deliberate. As well as training our own people, we'll be providing opportunities for the wider community to develop skills in areas such as plumbing, electrics, renewable technologies, health and safety and supervisor skills. We'll also be hosting community programmes, DIY sessions and even courses covering key basics like CV writing.

So why, in a depressed market, are we taking this leap of faith?

There are two reasons. Firstly, quite simply, we still struggle to find skilled tradespeople, even in this climate. Skilled people are efficient people, and with the focus on driving down costs, this is fundamental to our business model.

Secondly, to invest and develop our staff and the communities we work in. As a privately-owned company, our core values are people and communities and the academy is just one way of putting those principles into practice with a facility that will benefit 2,000 people a year.

We're also confident, despite the doom and gloom, that things will pick up. Just do the maths:

The population is increasing, we need more schools; we are living longer, we need more healthcare facilities; there is a country-wide shortage of new homes, we need more housing - something that is now being addressed and probably why our housing division is taking on new people by the week.

Although it has retrenched, a growing and needy population means the public sector simply cannot shut up shop. And neither can we.

Business authors

David Bailey

David Bailey - Professor of Industrial Strategy at the Aston Business School, Birmingham
My postings | David Bailey's RSS feed My feed

Stuart Pemble

Stuart Pemble - Construction Lawyer, Mills & Reeve
My postings | Stuart Pemble's RSS feed My feed

John Clancy

John Clancy - Birmingham City Councillor and director of mediafuturesalert.com and justliteracy.com
My postings | John Clancy's RSS feed My feed

John Samuels

John Samuels - Professor of Business Finance, Birmingham Business School
My postings | John Samuels's RSS feed My feed

Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson - Chris Tomlinson is the founder of social media and online PR agency Friend (frienddigital.com)
My postings | Chris Tomlinson's RSS feed My feed

Andrew Whitehead

Andrew Whitehead - Senior partner at law firm SGH Martineau, leading the firm's Energy & Climate Change practice.
My postings | Andrew Whitehead's RSS feed My feed

Keith Gabriel

Keith Gabriel - A Birmingham-based PR Account Manager
My postings | Keith Gabriel's RSS feed My feed

Beverley Nielsen

Beverley Nielsen - Lecturer, Design Management, at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, BCU
My postings  | Beverley Nielsen'a RSS feed My feed

Mike Loftus

Mike Loftus - Director of News from the Future Ltd. Writing on the trials of setting up your own business
My postings | Mike Loftus's RSS feed My feed

Richard Halstead

Richard Halstead - Midlands region director for EEF, the manufacturers organisation.
My postings | Richard Halstead's RSS feed My feed

Karl Edge

Karl Edge - partner at KPMG in Birmingham, specialising in automotive, manufacturing and house building sectors.
My postings | Karl Edge's RSS feed My feed

Peter Owen

Peter Owen - Managing director for construction firm Willmott Dixon Midlands.
My postings | Peter Owen's RSS feed My feed

Dr Steven McCabe

Dr Steven McCabe - director of research degrees for Birmingham City Business School.
My postings | Dr Steven McCabe's RSS feed My feed

Francis Greene

Francis Greene - Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, at the University of Birmingham.
My postings

Alan Gilmour

Alan Gilmour - Director at Cogent Elliott, experienced in marketing, brand development and customer relationship management.
My postings

Paul Noon

Paul Noon - Paul Noon, OBE, West Midlands International Trade Director at UK Trade & Investment.
My postings

Latest Birmingham Post Lifestyle blog

Lifestyle Blog

Birmingham Post staff and guest bloggers from the midlands give you the lowdown on what's happening in your region and some musings on culture in the UK and beyond.

Keep up to date

Sponsored Links