Dominica’s PM provides international airport update
The Commonwealth of Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has shared updates on the country’s anticipated international airport, with around 411 acres of land now acquired for the construction and development of the project.
Speaking during his weekly government programme, Skerrit says that rapid progress is being made on the project, including making several payments to landowners, finalising designs and technical studies.
He adds that the government of Dominica has been earmarking £3.8 million every month from its popular Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme for the last few years to fund the project, which is set to be developed on the island’s north-east coast.
“We have paid for compensation to farmers, we are finalising the designs, there will be some changes to the homes we are building for those who have opted to accept a home in exchange for their homes," he said. "We have a 150 acres of agricultural land that we have surveyed and next week we will be assigning those lands to farmers who exchanged land for land."
Once completed, the international airport will be Dominica’s first and will improve air access to the country. The project also aligns with recent news that Caribbean Airlines has launched a new flight between Dominica and Barbados, which will gradually increase to four times a week, and follows the reopening of borders to international visitors in August.
Skerrit also reveals that his administration is proposing the introduction of a national company to oversee the construction of the airport project.
“The International Airport Development Company will have a shelf life for the duration of the construction of the airport. It will have a board comprising of 16 members that would cover a wide section of the society so that we have broad-based participation and involvement in the process,” he explains.
The new airport will be vital to the island nation’s economic future as it is currently only served by two regional airports, meaning that all international visitors must travel via Puerto Rico, or its fellow Caribbean islands of Barbados, Guadeloupe or Martinique.
Part of the Windward Islands chain in the Caribbean Sea, Dominica’s CBI programme has been a pivotal source of funding for development projects on the island, ranging from housing to education. Established in 1993, the programme enables foreign investors and their family to secure citizenship by either donating to the government fund or by buying into selected real estate options.
Those who successfully pass the vetting process obtain citizenship, which comes with a wide range of benefits, including increased travel freedom to approximately 140 destinations, as well as the chance to pass down citizenship to future generations.
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.