The Insider: Martin Duffy talks ageing

11/12/2019
Martin Duffy

When I say ageing and shrinking, I can forgive those who know me thinking I’m talking about myself, but that’s not the case. What I’m referring to is the UK workforce engaged in delivering the much needed infrastructure that will see our country prosper in the coming years ahead.

The skills shortage has been on our radar in the construction industry for the past few years and during this time I’ve listened to numerous business leaders from within the highways sector talking about their plans to fill the gap.

The 5% Club is a great initiative and a number of suppliers have signed up to this to help them focus on attracting young talent to support the delivery of one of the biggest infrastructure investment programmes I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. But I fear much more needs to be done.

Adding to the resource pressures is of course Brexit and (no matter who comes into government after December 12th) the concern will remain that we will see an ongoing outward migration of EU nationals due to the political uncertainties. So our elders retire, our EU nationals leave but the 5% Club will save the day – I don’t think so!

And it gets worse. We are losing others from the pool because schemes outside the highways sector are luring our people with more attractive propositions which include better remuneration, better work/life balance and greater job security because of the stop/start approach to investment we have become so well known for in highways.

To compound this I’ve witnessed large companies drawing back on their graduate and apprenticeship intake in the past couple of years due to existing workloads and whilst I understand the commercial reasons, it does nothing to help us project the image we want of our industry.

But there are glimmers of hope, pockets of excellence - step up to the plate Tier Twos.

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to visit a new training facility on the edge of Solent Airport in Hampshire where a group of regional based civil engineering contractors are ‘taking hold’ of the skills shortage by proactively attracting, mentoring and training new apprentices across the whole range of civil engineering activities.

In conjunction with Fareham College R&W is one of the 11 founding partners and along with Knights Brown they are the only organisations from the highways sector to have been involved from the outset.

The purpose built facility known as CETC (Civil Engineering Training Centre) was funded by the 11 partners topped up by the Solent LEP and will provide youngsters from across the region with the opportunity to receive a blend of theoretical and practical learning that not only provides them with a formal qualification but also makes them work ready the day the leave the college.

The training is delivered with cohorts of approximately 40 trainees over a 20-week period.

Now on Cohort 6 the programme is ‘tried and tested’ and the results are profound. The feedback on the apprentices is glowing and what’s even more remarkable is CETC want to extend the offer to train your apprentices, which will help to generally raise the bar on standards.

There are other examples such as HTM who are a traffic management company based in the heart of Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction and they have developed a training facility that they use not only to train their own operatives but operatives from any other TM company.

Only by collaborating across the highway sector and the construction industry as a whole will we entice suitable numbers into our businesses to deliver on the demanding expectations being set for the next decade. So why not replicate what CETC and HTM are doing right now or simply tap into these well-established training facilities?

So, you know who you are. Are you making the contribution you should be to making the construction sector great again?

Highways jobs

Apprentice Gas Heating Engineer

City of York Council
£12,443.89 per annum
You will work within the Heating Team (Building Services) and with other teams to deliver a Heating Repairs Service to the residents of York. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Chair of the Board of Directors - Norwich City Services

Norwich City Council
£10,000 per annum
Join Norwich City Services Ltd and transform the way we look after our city and our people. Norwich, Norfolk
Recruiter: Norwich City Council

2x Environmental Health Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
Up to £42,336
We are seeking to appoint two qualified Environmental Health Officers to work within our Environmental Health Team Dacorum, Hertfordshire
Recruiter: Dacorum Borough Council

Country Parks Trading Officer

Northumberland County Council
£21,589 - £23,836
Countryside Parks Trading Officer Country Parks including Druridge Bay
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Support Office (Back Office Systems)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band E, £25,295- £28,785
An opportunity to develop and manage back office systems for Environmental Protection, Development Control, Environmental Health and Building Control. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recruiter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Head of Environmental Services

City of York Council
Grade 12 Level 1- 4 £49,275 to £59,079 (basic pay plus a supplement up to £59,079)
Want to Live and Work in the Best City? York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Operational Manager - 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£48,172 - £49,047
This role is based within The Environment Service within the Directorate of Economy and Infrastructure. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Relief Minibus Driver

North Yorkshire County Council
£17,711
We are looking for a caring, flexible and committed person to help us provide this transport. Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Transport Officer (Policy)

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
£38,813 To £40,760 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity for an energetic and motivated individual to drive forward transport policy to... St Helens, Merseyside
Recruiter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Traffic Management Leader

City of York Council
£35,500 to £40,710 per annum
City of York Council have an exciting opportunity for an experienced transport professional to lead our Traffic Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Traffic Project Officer

City of York Council
£26,875 to £29,783 per annum
City of York Council have a great opportunity for a Projects Officer to join our busy Traffic Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Senior Environmental Health Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39.774 - £42.684
The successful candidate needs to have the professionalism, skills and abilities to... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Civil Engineers

Transport Scotland
£38,541 – £46,599
To help us deliver our responsibilities we are seeking suitably qualified and experienced applicants to fill a number of senior grade posts Scotland
Recruiter: Transport Scotland

ITS & CAV Strategy Manager

Transport Scotland
£38,541 – £46,599 (pro rata for part time)
You will have responsibility for developing and delivering on the Initiatives set out in the CAV Roadmap for Scotland Scotland
Recruiter: Transport Scotland

Disposals and Acquisitions Surveyor

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated individual, who is prepared to work flexibly and as part of a team, in... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Parking Operations Officer - 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Are you a hard-working individual, who enjoys working outdoors in all weather conditions? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Essex Contact Tracing Service - Team Lead - Call Handler

Essex County Council
£21.50 - £34.20 per hour + Weekdays £21.50, Sat £27.80 Sun & BH £34.20
Home Based Opportunity 6-hour shifts
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Assistant Traffic Management & Road Safety Engineer - Highways

North Yorkshire County Council
£22,021 to £26,999
We are looking for an Assistant Engineer to join our Traffic Engineering team. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Team Leader

Buckinghamshire Council
Negotiable
OverviewThis is your chance to make a lasting impact on our county. From developing the connected transport networks of the future and driving sustain England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recruiter: Buckinghamshire Council

Project Officers

Buckinghamshire Council
£29121 - £38881 per annum
OverviewCareer graded posts 5-7£29,121 - £38,881 per annumThis is your chance to make a lasting impact on our county. From developing the connected tr England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recruiter: Buckinghamshire Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

 

ADEPT: Past and present

Highways England: Present and future

Mott MacDonald: Urban realm of the future

View the latest issue

Latest Video