Over 13,000 new construction jobs are set to be created throughout the North East during the next five years, according to research published today.
Industry body CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) predicts 13,400 additional posts will be required for major housing and industry projects now lined up for the region.
With an annual demand for 245,000 new homes across the UK, it is predicted that average output for public housing in the North East will grow 6.7% each year to 2018. Private housing is not far behind as a driver for growth at 4.7%, while infrastructure output is forecast to rise 5.3%.
Between now and 2018, the North East as a whole will see average annual output grow 2.4%, slightly ahead of the national average of 2.2%, according to the CSN.
Key projects expected to contribute to this rise locally include Newcastle City Council’s £130m plan to build 1,200 new homes by 2017, and MGT Power’s new £400m biomass power plant on Teesside.
With 2,680 new employees required each year to fulfil planned projects, the region’s construction workforce will hit 97,750 in 2018 – a rise of 3.0% on 2013.
However, output and employment will still be down on pre-recession levels and caution is being urged.
Steve Housden, sector strategy manager for CITB in the North East, said: “The CSN report shows that the economy is turning the corner and the North East’s construction industry will benefit from that. The Government’s Help-to-Buy scheme has kick-started demand across the housing market and new infrastructure projects in the North East will help create jobs.
“However, growth needs to be sustainable, underpinned by long-term infrastructure projects and continued investment.”
Yesterday, the news was welcomed by Dan Robinson, chairman of the Hartlepool-based Gus Robinson Developments, who said there was undoubtedly an increase in optimism, which, for his firm, was translating into a “tangible upturn in business and with it, the demand for high quality people”.
Jeff Alexander, director of Newcastle’s Surgo Construction, however, gave the news a “cautious welcome”, adding: “We have concerns that this increased demand seems to be fuelled largely by housing, which at present is dominated by a few of the bigger players. Regional companies such as ourselves, whilst currently recruiting, will perhaps be cautious about large-scale recruitment drives until we see signs of sustained growth across other sectors.”