Latest News

22 Aug

The Big House Presents: EXPO

EXPO is a great opportunity to discover what with these businesses to localise your supply chain, reduce your carbon footprint, and create jobs and opportunities in the D2N2 area.

20 Aug

Chamber offers free year-long membership to businesses affected by Toddbrook Reservoir incident

East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) continues to work with partners to offer comprehensive support to local businesses which have been - and continue to be - affected by the potential collapse of Toddbrook Dam.

19 Aug

‘Energy for Business’ scheme helps local businesses make the low-carbon leap

A project which helps local businesses that want to develop low-carbon solutions, has been awarded funding to support SMEs in the region for another three years.

Construction–skills for growth

According to CTIB CSN Report (Blueprint for Construction 2015 – 2019) construction output in the East Midlands is forecast to see annual average growth of 2.2% in the five years to 2019, below the equivalent UK rate of 2.9%. Employment growth is expected to average 1.1% over the forecast period, slightly below the UK average of 1.5%. The regions annual recruitment requirement however is slightly higher than the UK average.

In contrast, across all sectors, businesses across the D2N2 region are currently outperforming their national counterparts in the first three months of the year according to the East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire) Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q1 2015. The survey found that business growth remained robust in the early part of the year, giving an increased number of firm’s optimism for the year ahead, with 51% of firms reporting an increase in UK sales in Q1.

When looking at the opportunities for expansion in the construction sector there is a need to focus on activities that exceed expectations of growth and reflect and take advantage of the economic buoyancy of the region. The construction sector is driven from the top down by the demands of public and private sector procurement which now expects more for less from the construction sector; however one of the main barriers to growth, at the current time, is access to a skilled workforce. This has a huge impact on a sector which is 40% more labour intensive than the manufacturing sector.

This is put into stark reality by the latest National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC) trade body survey which highlights that one in four subcontractors are turning down work. This is stated as a result of the “yawning skills gap” where the capacity squeeze has been driven home as order books increase. NSCC Chief Executive Suzanne Nichol highlights,

The growing construction market is great news for specialist contractors but we need to tackle head-on the skills crisis that is facing the industry. If we do not invest in recruiting and training people with the right skills, the industry will not be able to meet demand and this will impact on the wider UK economy.

Feedback from the Chamber’s Construction Forum reflects these concerns with many delegates stating the recruitment, access to skills and training are in one of their top three priorities for 2015. Access to a skilled workforce has the ability to give the region, and the sector and edge. The ability to attract young people to the sector, to support returners and the unemployed to the sector and to support workforce development is key to achieving this goal.

The ability to make this change lies within the hands of the educators, parents, trade bodies and employers. By supporting some of the excellent work currently being undertaken by organisations such as the D2N2 LEP, local authorities, CITB, Royal Institute of British Architects, the EMPA Academy, local schools, colleges, universities and employers, the ability to ensure the sector is driven forward in a way which will attract more wealth, jobs and subsequent growth to the region, will be achieved.

Photo courtesy of Vision West Nottinghamshire College