Salford Deal to Trigger 75m Home Upgrade
Salford City Council’s 8,500 council houses are to be transferred to a private company which has pledged to uplift them by the tune of £75 million in a renovation scheme earmarked to finish in 2020.
The developer in question is Salix Homes, and the deal will only go ahead if residents vote in favour of the privatisation of this public asset, with a poll set for later on this year. A consultation process will take place beforehand whereby information will be available to interested parties.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has already backed the proposal as the deal would see the council’s £65.1 million historic housing debt written off.
Currently, Salford (near Manchester, UK) social housing is owned by the council and managed by Salix Homes, a not-for-profit company, who will take full ownership in exchange for the government clearing the debt.
It has made a commitment to invest £75 million in a bid to bring all 8,500 homes up to the government’s Decent Homes standard by 2020.
This includes 4,000 homes getting new kitchens or bathrooms, 2,000 homes getting new windows and 3,000 homes getting upgraded heating.
Councillor Gena Merrett, Salford’s assistant mayor for housing and environment, said that the announcement is good news for the area as it will bring vital investment and work.
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.