4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Construction

Creative Monthly Meetup

It’s always interesting to discuss our regional construction sector.  So much good stuff happening, but so many missed opportunities.  Local firms missing out on local contracts; challenges around recruitment and getting young people into the sector; and just not enough quality firms to meet the demand that exists.

This month, our regional discussion brought together a diverse mix of people and businesses from our network, to explore “opportunities in and for the regional construction sector”.

You can catch up on the full meeting recording below or click here for the full meeting report.

Full Meeting Recording

Meeting Highlights & Notes

“There’s a significant skills shortage in the industry, leading to the reliance on foreign workers. Collaborating with Gower College, efforts are being made to train students with the necessary skills, tailored by businesses to bridge these gaps across various sectors. Courses are now offered at night to accommodate working individuals, proving popular and beneficial. The construction sector offers lucrative opportunities, such as bricklayers earning £500 per day and quantity surveyors starting at £35k annually. It is essential to change perceptions and promote construction as a desirable career path for future generations.”  Mike Kavanagh

“Collaboration is essential for advance notice of opportunities. It is not easy to put a collaborative bid together; time is needed for trust and arrangements to be established. If notices come to the market too late, it is hard to collaborate on those bids. Think NOW about coming together as a network of companies, ready for contracts in the future. Small SMEs can unite, bringing together all trades, and establishing a coherent unit that can enter the bidding process as a group.”  Peter Austin, Swansea Bay City Deal

“The procurement agents (buyers) should take that on, rather than bundling big lots together. Buyers need to make those contracts accessible. Currently, it only happens with the smallest, unprofitable aspects of work, not the big profitable stuff. Lazy or risk-averse buyers. We have been utterly unable to access work through the city deal. All the big contractors are closed to our particular trade.”  William Silverstone – Silverstone Green Energy, Pembrokeshire

“We have many people here in South West Wales who don’t know about all the opportunities available. We are in a privileged position to hear about the fantastic opportunities in our region, but we really need to get that message into communities and colleges. We need to reach young people with these messages. The opportunity is for our young people and those living here now, so they can stay and thrive in the communities they have grown up in. We need to make people realise this.”
Zoe Antrobus, 4theRegion

“The size and opportunity in retrofitting buildings to meet 2050 environmental standards are substantial. The average cost of a retrofit for a dwelling is £60,000. With 328,000 dwellings at £60,000 each, this represents a £19.7 billion opportunity. Even with a smaller scale, there’s still a £14 billion market in retrofitting, which could translate to £140 million in annual expenditure within our region, creating 4,000 jobs with good salaries. This could be a transformational opportunity for our area.  Twenty-five per cent of this contract value is in overheads and profits for the main contractor. There is a huge opportunity for local entrepreneurs and a significant need for training!”  William Silverstone – Silverstone Green Energy, Pembrokeshire

“It is a practical reality that only a few contractors in Wales are equipped to manage large contracts. Clients should clearly specify in the procurement process their preference for a significant portion of the budget to be spent locally. It is also important to acknowledge that many local companies may not have the capability to undertake the projects being put out to tender. How can a contractor grow to a size where they can handle such levels of risk and capacity? It would be beneficial to receive insights on this matter.”  Peter Austin, Swansea Bay City Deal