Posted: Tue 2nd Jul 2024

Wales will need extra 11,000 construction workers to fuel economic growth

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

In an address at the Construction Summit in Llandudno Junction, Jeremy Miles, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Energy, and Welsh Language, highlighted the need for an additional 11,000 construction workers to sustain Wales’ growing economy.

Speaking to a packed audience of North Wales construction sector delegates, Miles emphasised the critical role of collaboration between private and public sectors.

He presented a comprehensive vision to foster rapid growth and address workforce shortages.

Key elements of his plan include:

Education and Training: Collaborating with the new Commission for Tertiary Education & Research to align educational programmes with industry needs. This initiative aims to fill specific skill gaps in the construction sector, ensuring a steady pipeline of qualified workers.

Economic Stimulus: Increasing the availability of employment spaces and investment-ready sites through direct intervention, grants, and partnerships. This strategy is designed to stimulate significant economic growth across Wales.

Sustainable Housing: Decarbonising social housing through the new Welsh Housing Quality Standard 2023. This builds on the £2 billion already invested in the original programme, aiming to create sustainable, high-quality, and affordable homes.

Sector-Wide Innovation: Encouraging both public and private sectors to utilise existing tools to overcome recruitment, retention, training, and supply chain challenges. The focus is on driving a shared Net Zero Carbon ambition by innovating with low carbon materials and modern construction methods.

Miles highlighted the broader impact of the construction industry, stating, “The construction industry has a huge impact on our economy and society. It creates jobs, drives economic growth, and offers solutions to social, climate, and energy challenges. We are already doing a lot of things right in Wales, with many countries looking at our efforts to transition to a prosperous, sustainable future with fair work at its heart.”

He acknowledged the ongoing challenges, including the need to build a future talent pipeline and support innovation.

“The creation of a future talent pipeline, the identification of key projects, and the need to support innovation are issues that need further backing,” Miles said. “My message to the sector in North Wales is clear: whether through building vital infrastructure for a greener, more sustainable future or maximising opportunities presented by Free Ports and Investment Zones, the construction industry is crucial to shaping the Wales of tomorrow.”

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport, also addressed the event, highlighting the regional opportunities within the construction sector. “Part of my role as Cabinet Secretary for North Wales is to champion the interests of our communities, businesses, and institutions. It’s about ensuring our policies reflect the circumstances, challenges, and opportunities in the North,” Skates remarked. “We can achieve so much more by working together, and with exciting developments across the region, this is an exciting time for the sector.”

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