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Major Infrastructure Projects Look Set To Fuel Skills Demand

With key elections taking place in the UK and USA this year, 2024 is shaping up to be a year of change and opportunity. With a large number of core infrastructure projects already underway and many likely to get the go ahead in the near future, the UK construction industry looks likely to be facing renewed demand for large volumes of skilled workers.

Projects such as Hinkley Point C, HS2 and the Thames Tideway are already well underway and utilising thousands of skilled workers. HS2 already employs over 30,000 people and the project is still actively recruiting.

As well as the large number of people involved in these projects, the sheer length of time committed to each project is a key consideration when considering future manpower requirements. Construction began at Hinkley Point C in March 2017 and EDF have recently confirmed that the new nuclear power station is unlikely to be completed before 2031, meaning a total project lifespan of almost 15 years.

With government backing for Sizewell C now secured, the project is currently forecast to take around 10-12 years to complete, generating up to 25,000 jobs in the process. And just this week, it has been announced that Wylfa on Anglesey has been chosen as the preferred site for a new nuclear power plant. The plant will be on the same scale as both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell, therefore bringing the potential for thousands of job opportunities to the Welsh island.

Putting nuclear projects to one side, there are also ambitious plans for the expansion of the National Grid, the Lower Thames Crossing and an eight mile road upgrade in Wiltshire that is being called the ‘Stonehenge Tunnel’. 

On a slightly smaller scale, national house builders are also hoping for a resurgence in the domestic building market as inflation has now reached its lowest level for three years, signalling a likely fall in interest rates sooner rather than later which will in turn help drive activity for the UK housing market.

All this activity suggests a real demand for skilled workers in the coming years, and huge opportunities for those looking at careers within the construction sector. Companies need to now be looking at their existing employees as well as planning how they can attract new talent, focussing on skills-based recruitment. Savvy employers will also be looking at ways to upskill their existing employees as well as working with educational institutions to offer relevant apprenticeship programmes to ensure a pipeline of highly skilled individuals ready to work on these significant national projects.

 


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