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You are here: News » Archived News » Summit sets agenda for Property & Construction Sector

Summit sets agenda for Property & Construction Sector

Andy Burnham

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Skills topped the agenda at Greater Manchester Chamber’s Property & Construction Summit at Emirates Old Trafford recently. The event brought together leading figures in the industry to debate issues including the Construction and Skills Pipeline and Climate Change. Stewart Grant, the Chamber’s Property & Construction Chair, opened the summit with the upbeat message that Greater Manchester’s economy was outperforming the rest of the UK and that although we “had been looking down the barrel of a recession, business is in recovery mode.”

Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara, Deputy Director of Research at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, gave an overview of the Property & Construction Sector, saying it was “an extremely important sector and source of employment in our region” which contributed £205bn to the UK economy and £20bn to the North West economy. He added that 95,000 people were employed in the sector, which is made up of 19,000 businesses. During the debate on the Construction and the Skills Pipeline, panellist Tom Higgins, Director, Laing O’Rourke, gave a stark warning that the construction industry was in danger of “falling over” due to its ageing workforce. He explained that the industry needed to move towards the use of MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) because of the resource and skills challenges facing it and said new skills were required to implement MMC. He added: “We need to start right now training people in the industry.”

He pointed out that while much of the UK’s infrastructure needed to be replaced, this pipeline of projects could not be completed without more people coming into construction. “We need to be speaking to government about the fact that the industry can’t cope with what is in the pipeline. Hospitals, motorways, prisons and schools all need replacing. Infrastructure is falling around our ears. To renew all that we need the right people. Too many people are leaving and too few people are joining the industry.”

GMCC Panel

After three workshops a second panel discussion on the subject of ‘Climate Emergency Crisis or Opportunity?’ took place. In his keynote speech at the summit, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, set out the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in the years ahead. “Greater Manchester is growing faster than the UK economy and is predicted to grow faster. The power of the city is beginning to benefit the surrounding towns. It is spreading to these other centres around the city region. Chief among them is Stockport. It’s the first part of our area to prove that it’s not city versus town.”

In his closing remarks Clive Memmott OBE, Chief Executive of the Chamber, said: “The devolution genie is out of the bottle and Greater Manchester is leading the way. It totally changes the way we go about things and the way decisions are made.”

Diane Elebert-Morgan, Property & Construction Group Manager, concluded: “It was wonderful to see so many industry leaders come together and debate the key issues of the sector. This was an exciting and engaging event which will set the agenda for the years ahead. “There’s no doubt that the Property & Construction sector faces many challenges, not least the skills gap, but Greater Manchester is starting to meet these challenges by taking control of our skills system.”

For more information:
Diane.ElebertMorgan@gmchamber.co.uk
07740 196476
Visit: gmchamber.co.uk

 

 

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