Street Crane wins £3.3m Siemens contract
Siemens Wind Power has awarded Street Crane a £3.3m contract to supply overhead cranes for its state-of-the-art £310m wind turbine production and logistics facilities in Hull.
Street will design, manufacture and install 32 overhead cranes at the blade manufacturing factory, three cranes at the site’s service and logistics building and a further two cranes at a training facility for the blade factory workforce at Alexandra Dock.
The factory cranes will be used to help produce and despatch blades and include dual-hoist cranes with tandem control capable of safely and effectively lifting blades up to 75m long. As part of the contract, Street is also responsible for all the associated steelwork, testing and commissioning of its solution.
Street was awarded the contract following a competitive and rigorous tender process in which it had to prove that it had the skills, experience and manufacturing expertise to meet Siemens exacting technical specification. This included members of the Siemens team visiting Street’s manufacturing facility in Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire to assess its operations.
Siemens’ Hull Project Director Finbarr Dowling said: “The overhead cranes have a huge impact on productivity so it is essential that the products and the team behind them are of the highest standard. Throughout the tender process, Street proved that it had the expertise, resources and flexibility to meet our demands and deliver a solution that maximises efficiency, safety and production output.”
Gus Zona, Operations Director at Street, who is managing the contract added: “We are proud to be working with Siemens on such a significant project that is going to have a major impact on the UK’s offshore wind industry as well as the wider economy.
“We worked closely with the architect at the concept stage to design the cranes, ensuring they could operate effectively within the proposed structure and also meet Siemens stringent technical requirements, which replicate those at its wind turbine blade factory in Denmark.
“Offering the latest technology, the cranes are the most advanced of their kind and with the support of our skilled network of engineers, will ensure that Siemens can meet the changing and growing demands of its customers.”
The 10-acre (40,000 sq m) blade factory is part of a 133-acre development that includes manufacturing and servicing facilities and a pre-assembly harbour. The factory is due to open in September 2016, with the first batch of turbines scheduled to be produced by early 2017.
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.