The retail industry is booming in the Middle East
Through Dubai’s Expo 2020 vision, construction work has significantly increased in the region in order to develop current and existing infrastructures, in addition to develop current spaces to become more sustainable, energy efficient and attract locals and tourists.
To this effect, construction work is underway for two new shopping malls, one within Dubai and one in Oman, which will provide a boost to the local economy and drive further market growth. Majid Al Futtaim is behind the Mall of Oman development, alongside Shapoorji Pallonji Middle East and Consolidated Contractors Company Oman. Salini Impreglio will be responsible for the construction of the Meydan One development in Dubai, at a total cost of $435 million.
Both malls will house a number of new retail stores, with the Mall of Oman houses over 300, in comparison to Meydan One’s 620, spanning over 130,000sqm. Similar to the Dubai Mall, both the Mall of Oman and Meydan One will also incorporate a new snow area for winter sports lovers and cinema, alongside communal spaces, sports facilities and over 100,000 restaurants.
Ghaith Shocair, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim said: "We are proud to announce the imminent construction of Mall of Oman, which will be Oman’s largest mall and set unprecedented standards for the emerging retail and entertainment landscape in the Sultanate.
The new malls will also incorporate a strengthened transportation networks, with the Meydan One development incorporating two metro lines which will be embedded underneath the building, which will ink with Dubai airport. Both will also house car parks with a capacity to house over 5000 vehicles.
However, Meydan One is set to break several records, with the incorporation of the largest dancing water fountain in the world, and will house one of the world’s tallest buildings within the Meydan complex. Throughout the mall, tourists will also have the ability to kayak throughout the building instead of walking, and music lovers will enjoy the floating stage, which is set to be built for future concerts in the region.
Meydan Chairman Saeed Humaid Al Tayer said: “In our vision for Meydan One we have brought together all the wonders of a retail and leisure experience into one space, making this the number one destination for the UAE and indeed, the Middle East. With construction now underway, the Meydan One Mall is scheduled to be completed by 2020, in line with phase 1 of the Meydan One mega development.”
Read the March 2017 issue of Construction Global here
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.