Leader of Norfolk County Council discusses Construction Skills

BECG East was delighted to welcome Leader of Norfolk County Council, Andrew Proctor, as well as Lovell Regional Managing Director, Simon Medler, as the keynote speakers to our ‘Construction Skills’ Roundtable event in Norwich on Thursday 28th March. 

Norfolk County Council leader Andrew Proctor opened the discussion by giving a positive and forward-thinking speech, focusing on the high demand for skilled individuals in the construction industry and the collaborative role the Council wants to play in developing the skills needed locally to address the current shortage.  

Councillor Proctor went on to encourage the sector to engage with educational establishments to ensure industry-relevant training is being taught and ensuring a clear pathway for those interested in working in the built environment sector, whilst stressing the importance of improving the image of construction jobs. 

Lovell East Anglia Managing Director, Simon Medlerpresented the challenges and opportunities from the developer’s perspective following Andrew’s opening and reiterated the fantastic career opportunities in an industry that is highly rewarding and has tangible outcomes.  

Simon then went on to discuss the current challenges from a developer’s perspective of inflated wages, aggressive poaching of an in-demand workforce and the return of a shortened working week. To tackle these challenges Simon referred to the Farmer report and put forward an array of potential solutions for the industry that Lovell are implementing including modular and off-site construction, working with educational establishments and implementing apprenticeship programmes. 

Jackie Thornton, Head of Development at Norwich City Community Sports Foundation, was also present to explain the role The Nest (a multi-purpose community hub in Norwich) could play in training and education across Norfolk, as they look to secure funding for the second phase of construction to complete an indoor sports hall, a gymnasium, floodlit 3G football pitch and classroom facilities. 

Following candid discussions across the group there was agreement that a closer relationship between government, educational facilities and the industry would be key to addressing the current skills shortage, while it was encouraging to see so many attendees sharing information and contact details with a view to work more closely in future. 

A broad range of industries were represented at the Roundtable from across the built environment sector including leading industry decision makers from local government, statutory bodies, the housebuilding, utilities and infrastructure sectors, among many others. The event, held at The Nestfollowed a successful roundtable focussing on ‘Building Futures’ in November.  

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