West Midlands on road to construction jobs and growth

A boom in infrastructure projects is set to keep output in the West Midlands construction industry growing over the next five years, according to a report.

The forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) says that road and rail projects will see output in the infrastructure sector soaring by more than 10% each year over the 2017-2021 period.

The massive £11 billion High Speed 2 rail link will make a substantial contribution to the gain, says CITB’s Construction Skills Network report.

A £1.8bn road improvement programme will also give the sector a boost, with works including the £335m motorway upgrades to the M6.

The CITB says that these big projects mean that overall construction output is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 1.3% per year for the next five years, with 14,000 jobs created.

Its report forecasts that the most in-demand roles in the West Midlands construction sector between 2017-21 include carpenters, electricians, and construction process managers (+1,550). There will also be significant demand for scaffolders, construction trades supervisors, labourers and surveyors.

One of our region’s companies the Deeley Group – which specialises in construction and property development – has been in business for more than eight decades in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Not only does that provide the company with a fine pedigree in all sectors of industry but also allows it to be an accurate judge of the area’s economy.

The Deeley Group is currently undertaking projects for HORIBA MIRA in the very north of the county through to a new 82-bed private rental apartment scheme for Orbit in Stratford-upon-Avon – with lots in between.

That not only underlines the expertise of the Deeley Group but, according to managing director Peter Deeley, shows that industry in Coventry and Warwickshire is doing well. He said: “Economically we are the home to a myriad of successful companies and certainly our advanced manufacturing and engineering firms – many involved in automotive – are leading the way.

“That has been fuelled by several factors. Clearly expanding markets have played a part, but Jaguar Land Rover is now a global brand and has clearly upped its game in terms of design, engineering and build quality.

“With Aston Martin, Geely, BMW and HORIBA MIRA – and many of their supply chain – also in Coventry and Warwickshire, we are undoubtedly a global force in that sector and that fuels inward investment and, consequently, development.”

Deeley has performed strongly in the education sector in recent years undertaking projects for both The University of Warwick and Coventry University, Warwick School, Warwickshire College Group and various academies.

One project – the creation of student accommodation at Warwickshire College Group’s Royal Leamington Spa College campus – only came to fruition because of Deeley’s contacts and experience in dealing with pension and investment funds.

Peter added: “The college was looking to a development team in the private sector to fund such a scale of operation. So we put forward a structured package of funding, designing and building of the units. After talks with the college, the fund we introduced purchased 100 existing student units and we are building 100 now.

“So the funder will end with an investment of 200 student units in a very good location in the centre of Leamington, where property values make that an attractive investment proposition.

“The significance is that it really shows what local companies can provide when it comes to need. In short, if you have the requirement for a new building or housing there are always ways of providing funding and the ability to deliver.

“It is a specialised area but we understand the way the funds need to be structured. We believe we have an overall view of development that allows us to structure a package so all requirements are met. The college has its student accommodation, Deeley Construction is completing a sizeable building contract and the funder has a good investment.”

The CITB public non-housing sector is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 3.6% in the short-term. A number of large projects will support expansion including the £500m Birmingham University campus redevelopment and a £37m science and health building at Coventry University, due for completion this year, says the CITB.

Lorraine Gregory, CITB Partnerships Manager for the West Midlands, said: “Although there is economic uncertainty, the West Midlands construction sector is set for growth, particularly in infrastructure.

“The outlook is positive because of a number of major projects either under way or in the pipeline. The biggest is HS2 which will provide multiple spin-offs in housing, business and recruitment opportunities.

“These projects and the job opportunities contractors are telling us about means this is a very good time to pursue a career in the construction industry. “CITB will continue working with employers to attract new talent into the construction industry and to train them for rewarding careers in the sector.”

Image: Warwick Hall, the new 1,000 -seat theatre at the centre of the Warwick School campus

References: http://www.citb.co.uk/news-events/england/west-midlands/citb-forecast-infrastructure-sets-west-midlands-on-road-to-construction-jobs-and-growth/