Steve Hunt, Managing Director of Liverpool-based mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy Steven Hunt & Associates, is calling on UK’s construction industry to join his fight to reverse what he says is a skills crisis in the construction industry by supporting his innovative new initiative.
The new initiative, Liverpool Apprenticeship Partnership (LAP), is set to launch autumn 2019 in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University for an initial pilot that will see six students from the region embarking on a 24-month placement programme, each spending two months across professions of the built environment, including structural engineers, quantity surveyors, M&E Engineers, architects and main contractors. At the end of the programme the students can choose which profession most suits and specialise in this discipline embarking then on a full degree apprenticeship in their chosen profession.
Following an announcement at MIPIM property festival in Cannes, Steve Hunt said: “We are launching Liverpool Apprenticeship Partnership (LAP) and we are seeking partners to combat the skills crisis head on. By helping apprentices gain first-hand experience of a multidisciplinary approach that is required in the construction process which makes our training much more effective and work ready recruits at the end of the process.”
Steve’s industry call to action comes at a time when the demand for construction workers is greater than ever. A new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) forecasts that the sector will see an average growth of 1.3% over the next five years, which will result in a dramatic increase in demand for skilled workers. It has been calculated that an extra 158,000 new construction jobs will have to be created by 2022 to meet this growth. The report goes on to identify the North-west as the region that will see the biggest increased demand for jobs, with over 5,000 additional recruits needed in the region to meet the demand.
Steve Hunt, Managing Director of Steve Hunt & Associates, continued: “We are not doing nearly enough to get more people into the industry to meet the current demand for skills and this is only set to get worse. Many in the industry have been blind to the impact this will have on the sector in the very near future. This is a direct consequence of the last financial downturn affecting construction, the legacy of which means that we all have a real issue both in apprentice level and mid management. It is our responsibility to help more young people get into the wide range of trades and the private sector simply has to step up.
“After three decades in the industry, this is an issue that I have always felt a personal responsibility to address. As a company we try to create as many opportunities as possible for aspiring engineers to get the skills that they need to succeed and invest heavily in training, however, frequently over the last few years I have had several trained staff poached as a result of others not contributing to the training responsibility.”
Professor Andy Ross, Subject Head for Surveying Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores University added: “We are always keen to promote any initiative which brings students in to the built environment but the LAP is a real opportunity for learners to gain first hand experience in the various disciplines allowing them to make a properly informed career decision.”
The Government has also recently acknowledged the dire state of the skills issue not only in the construction industry but UK wide with a pledge to introduce an additional 3,000,000 apprenticeships across all sectors by 2020.
Steve Hunt, added: “It can be overwhelming for young people to know where to start in all of the different roles that are available to them, so by providing an apprenticeship that allows them to sample all of the different disciplines in the process will not only guide their paths but also give them an overall perspective of the sector and how it all fits together.”
Companies interested in being part of the LAP are being invited to get involved and help provide this new framework for learning. Steven Hunt & Associates is hosting an open day on 26th March at 3pm in their offices in Speke with all interested parties welcome.