56,000 construction professionals needed by 2020

01/12/2016
Highways Reporters

More than 50,000 construction professionals, including 15,000 in the roads sector, are needed to deliver key infrastructure projects.  

Chris Grayling *DfTSpeaking to civil engineering contractors at the London Transport Museum yesterday (30 November), Transport Secretary Chris Grayling (pictured) said the highways industry will need an extra 15,000 professionals by 2020.

“2020 is the the year that road investment hits peak construction, he remarked. “By then, we’ll need an extra 15,000 road-building professionals of all kinds, including thousands of new engineers.”

Also in 2020, Transport for London hits a peak construction phase, and will need a further 8,000 construction professionals, including thousands more engineers.

Mr Grayling also pointed to Phase One of HS2 which will need an extra 27,000 construction professionals, including over 8,000 engineers.

He continued: “In total, we think to get all this work done, we’ll need an extra 56,000 skilled workers. And the demand won’t fall once we get past 2020. That’s also the year we begin our second Road Investment Strategy.

“And we’ll be preparing for the start of construction for HS2 Phase 2 – the two lines to the North, a far bigger project than Phase 1. And we’ll be pressing ahead with plans for Crossrail 2. And we should expect Heathrow’s 3rd runway to start construction around 2022. This shortage we’re facing is one compounded by demography.”

The Transport Secretary wants to see greater diversity in engineering, adding: “I would like to see more women engineers. And more black and minority ethnic engineers. Fewer than one in 10 engineers in our country are women. And just four per cent are from ethnic minorities.

“Yet look at the other professions, such as law, or medicine, the situation is very different indeed. If we’re going to solve the skills shortage, we need that kind of parity in engineering, too.”

Despite this, Mr Grayling remains confident that the skills shortage will be solved and called on companies operating in this field to play their part.

“If you want to win contracts in transport and want to be part of the government’s investment programme then you must prepare to leave a skills footprint in this country.

We want to see that you’re thinking about the future of the industry. We want to see that by the end of the contract, your company will have greater depth in skills than at the beginning.

“That means investing in training. It means hiring more apprentices. It means hiring from a wider pool of talent. And it means we’re setting some minimum standards.”

Earlier this year the government published its Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, which pledged to create more than 30,000 apprenticeship places across the road and rail industry by 2020.

Firms bidding for transport contracts must:


  • Either hire and train one apprentice for every £3 to £5 million of the contract’s value;


  • Or, for every 200 people employed under the contract, create five apprenticeships for each year of the project.


Every apprentice employed on a project, whether by contractor or sub-contractor, will count towards the target.

Mr Grayling confirmed that Mike Brown, commissioner of Transport for London, has agreed to chair the government’s Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce.

“We set up the taskforce this year to help address the skills challenge in a coordinated way, drawing on ideas and experience across the transport industry, and to monitor the progress we’re making. Mike will continue to drive the collaboration that we started when we published the strategy. And he will hold us all to account on progress, starting by publishing an Annual Report in the spring.”
Highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Latest Issue

The ALARM survey 2019

Game over for flyovers?

Traffex, Parkex and Cold Comfort Scotland previews

View the latest issue

Latest Video