Construction industry headed for boom

EXPANSION of the Port of Felixstowe and the building of thousands of new homes will keep the construction industry buoyant in Suffolk in the next few years, according to a new report out today.

EXPANSION of the Port of Felixstowe and the building of thousands of new homes will keep the construction industry buoyant in Suffolk in the next few years, according to a new report out today.

The container terminal is set to redevelop its Landguard Terminal and Dock Basin with a £240 million project - set to start next year - to create a new deepwater terminal.

The project will bring hundreds of construction jobs during its different phases, as will proposed scheme to dual four-and-a-half miles of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

The Construction Skills Network report by ConstructionSkills forecasts a 3.5 per cent annual growth in construction output to 2011 for the East of England - the third highest in the UK after Greater London - and expects there to be a 13.4pc growth in jobs in the industry.

By 2011, there will be around 307,000 employed in construction projects - and 10,160 recruits will need to be found each year to meet demand and take account of those leaving the industry.

Adrian Bouckley, East of England area manager for ConstructionSkills, said work to expand the ports at Bathside Bay at Harwich, Felixstowe and Great Yarmouth, plus activity at the Shell Haven site in Essex, would be big contributors to the upsurge in development, as well as road schemes and house building.

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“There is no shortage of applicants to the industry, with applications to construction and built environment courses and apprenticeships on the increase,” he said.

“One of our biggest challenges is to ensure new entrants and existing workers have access to the training that will deliver the skills that are required for projects across all sectors.”

The report says the highest increase in employment in the region will be seen among bricklayers, electrical trades and installation, wood trade and interior fit-out specialists.

WEBLINK: www.constructionskills.net

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