While many predicted 2017 to be a real struggle for UK construction, waiting to feel the pinch of Brexit, it appears that construction in Wales is expected to be stronger than in any other part of the country, with major infrastructure projects, such as the Tidal Lagoon, aiding growth.
Set to be a year of innovation, projects including Wylfa Newydd, the M4 relief road, the Newtown Bypass and the Eastern Bay Link in Cardiff will create around 20,000 jobs over the next five years, being the third year Wales has reigned supreme with regards to construction growth figures.
Mark Bodger of CIBT Wales believes a focus should however be placed on sourcing the right talent to take such projects forward, making the most of these exciting times for Welsh construction workers.
‘The challenge now is to ensure the right skills are in place and that we have the workforce available to build these major projects. Retaining the skilled workforce we already have and attracting new people to the industry will be essential.
This is an exciting time for Welsh construction, with substantial developments confirmed and a huge pipeline of proposed projects. The South Wales Metro and Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon could be further catalysts for growth. Industry must maximise on every opportunity available over the next five years and beyond.’
It has been reported that housing developments will also contribute to this influx of employment opportunities, as well as building in the non housing and commercial sectors.
The Welsh Government has inevitably played a huge part in this drive, with schemes such as the 21st Century Schools programme bringing millions of pounds of investment into the sector.
Other projects such as the International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor will also create more jobs in Wales in the coming years.
Ken Skates AM, the Economy Secretary says:
‘These forecasts predict strong growth in the sector in Wales, and are a reflection of our continued commitment to long term infrastructure planning and investment. We have been supporting the construction sector to grow its capacity and capability through our Construction Futures Wales programme and have been working jointly with CITB Wales so that Welsh companies are in a position to maximise the economic benefits this investment brings.
We have a clear pipeline of projects as set out in our Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, and in a further sign of the importance that infrastructure and construction activity plays in the wider economy, we have committed to establish a National Infrastructure Commission for Wales.’