Acorn’s Construction Division has joined forces with Y Prentis to develop ‘In-site’, a forum for future construction skills, and are holding a launch event, supported by the Celtic Manor Resort, which will bring together major industry stakeholders and contractors.
The launch event is being held on 4th February in a bid to highlight challenges within the sector, including spiralling wages and late project delivery. The first forum will provide like-minded construction figures with the opportunity to discuss potential solutions and collaborations.
Marc Jones, Operations Manager of Acorn’s specialist construction, mechanical and electrical division, said: “the skills crisis within the construction industry is already causing some of the UK’s major contractors to decline the opportunity to tender for certain sizeable projects. With nearly a dozen major construction projects on the horizon within South East Wales alone, the potential exists for all of these issues to be exaggerated, affecting the project costs and delivery dates, creating a ‘bidding war’ for skills. This is precisely what Acorn, Y Prentis and The Celtic Manor are committed to working together to avoid.”
Mandy Summers, Y Prentis’ Programme Manager, added: “this is a topic that has been discussed within the construction industry for a while and now is the time to really take action. Without a concentrated effort, the skills gap will only get worse and cause knock-on issues for the economy as a whole.
“There is no shortage of people keen to work in the industry, but we need to make sure that they get the appropriate training and support they need – the launch of In-site is a step in the right direction.”
Speakers at the February event will include Mark Barry, Metro Development Director and Advisor for the Welsh Government and Russell Phillips, Vice President of Facilities & Development at the Celtic Manor Resort. Russell and Mark are both at the forefront of large construction projects in South Wales, which will not only have a major effect on the economy, but will also place additional strain on the already scarce skills available within the construction industry.
Russell Phillips, Vice President of Facilities & Development at the Celtic Manor Resort, said: “Wales needs investment to help it thrive but without qualified construction workers, the investment will dry up, leaving the Welsh economy in a vulnerable position. As a world-class business that is continually investing, we know how important it is that there are no delays in the construction process. I believe that In-site is a step in the right direction to ensuring this widening skills gap is addressed.”
There will also be talks from Mandy Summers, Programme Manager at Y Prentis and Jan Balsdon, Head of Community Partnerships for The Wallich. Mandy and Jan are both involved in delivering innovative solutions to support the skills shortages, producing a talent stream in to the construction industry whilst supporting contractors’ corporate social responsibility agendas.
Acorn was once again recently listed in the UK’s top 1% of all UK recruitment agencies and is the largest recruitment and training provider in Wales; it places up to 6,500 people into the workplace with around 1,200 different clients each week. The group also delivers training to more than 1,000 individuals each month and makes 1,700 permanent placements every year.
Y Prentis is a flagship partnership between Melin Homes and Monmouthshire County Council (CMC²), which is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Welsh Government. Y Prentis employs apprentices on behalf of the industry and rotates them through hosted placements to enable employers to participate without having to commit to a full two-year term.