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UK construction figures join forces for industry summit

Any recovery in the construction sector will be limited in the long term unless young blood is attracted into the industry immediately, experts have warned.

Leading construction figures from across the UK joined forces at an industry summit in the West Midlands were in universal agreement that the industry needs to tap into the talent of young people before it is too late.

Current market conditions and prospects for future growth in the sector were among talking points at the event held at the Birmingham offices of architects Aedas, in partnership with accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott DFK and ANECTO.

Representatives from Success Train, Bullock Construction, Rider Levett Bucknall, Colliers, eco2, Clarke Wilmott and BCRS were among 20 industry professionals that took part in the debate.

Paul Fenner, head of the national construction and property team at accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott DFK, said succession planning is one of the major issues facing SME companies in the sector.

“Making sure young talent is coming through is vital, and at the moment it is not happening and businesses in the construction industry will suffer unless this is addressed,” he said.

“It is important in all industries – but it is something which appears to be particularly afflicting construction.

“We stress the importance of succession planning to our clients and companies we are talking to, because not having a quality management structure in place has a huge knock-on effect for future expansion as well as securing future funding and investment.”

Marcus Wilkins, who heads up Aedas’ Midlands team, said the sector needs to engage young talent as soon as possible.

“We’ve got the best technical people and are the envy of the rest of the world, and need to build on this for the future,” he said.

“Construction sites are interesting and exciting places to be, and we need to be better at showing young people everything that goes on from design stage to development before we lose talent to other sectors.”

Mark Panayides and Stephen Karle, chaired the event from Birmingham-based Aedas, which also touched on confidence in the market, exporting, planning issues and Research and Development tax credits.

Karle said: “Construction is a £90 billion industry for the UK and it was hugely positive to get so many people influential to the success of the sector in the Midlands around one table to discuss market conditions and foster new relationships. Hopefully more forums like this will follow.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Chantrey Vellacott .

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