BESA calls for more investment in skills to deliver Government construction ambitions

Published:  04 January, 2017

BESA, skills, training

The Government must prioritise skills and innovation if it is to improve productivity and deliver the housing and infrastructure projects highlight in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, according to the Building Services Engineering Services Association (BESA). The association welcomes the announcement of a new ‘pipeline’ of projects through the Government’s planning framework. It also applauds the focus on improving productivity, which is at the heart of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s economic ambitions.

Paul McLaughlin, chief executive of BESA (pictured), said, ‘The focus on growth and infrastructure spending is very welcome, and in order to be able to deliver the proposed workload this needs to be accompanied by very specific investment in skills and R&D. The Chancellor is right to identify productivity as a priority, and that means we need a truly diverse and multi-skilled workforce delivering projects to a very high standard.

‘More support for STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] training is the element Mr Hammond should add to complete the productivity, project delivery and business-growth jigsaw.’

The Government’s own labour-market survey has identified a 25 000 gap in the construction workforce that has to be filled in order to deliver ‘shovel-ready’ projects. Mr McLaughlin observes, ‘That has to be addressed before we can even start to consider future plans.’

Paul McLaughlin also points out that some contractors are already passing up opportunities to tender for projects because they don’t have the skilled workforce available. He adds, ‘If there is also to be a restriction on the amount of labour available from the EU, then growing our own through apprenticeships and upskilling existing workers becomes an even more pressing priority.

‘Therefore the funding mechanisms for apprenticeships — the new Trailblazers in particular — need to be clearly defined, projected and extended.’

comments powered by Disqus



Welcome to Modern Building Services Online, the web edition of Modern Building Services (MBS) journal and the UK's most popular Building Services engineering site. Modern Building Services covers the entire Building Services Engineering industry. This site contains archived content from the journal, plus web-specific content.

When you go to our digital edition, you can also access the archive of digital editions.

Modern Building services has a group
on Linkedin - join us!


  • M & E Engineering Technician

      We are currently seeking a "team player" with excellent interpersonal skills (ideally with a strong electrical bias) to work as a Building Services Technician providing technical assistance to our experienced and established Engineering Design team. .........

  • Mechanical Engineer (Modelling)

    An opportunity has arisen for an experienced Mechanical (Modelling) Building Services Design Engineer to join our established and experienced team. We are looking for a self-motivated and confident individual, who has a proven track record in the desig.........

  • M & E Clerk of Works

      An exciting opportunity has arisen for a self-motivated, confident Mechanical & Electrical Clerk of Works to join our busy team. You will be providing construction inspection services in conjunction with the delivery of major new build, extensions .........

more jobs »


"Is the Building Services industry lagging behind in the implementation of BIM?"