Connect Roads named preferred bidder for 745m Aberdeen bypass
The Scottish Government has named Connect Roads as preferred bidder for the Aberdeen bypass.
The Connect Roads consortium comprises Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try (Morrison Construction) and Carillion.
The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), which was delayed for five years following legal action, is worth £745m.
The project includes the bypass and the dualling of the Balmedie to Tipperty stretch of the A90 and is expected to be complete by Spring 2018.
At the announcement of the contract award, Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This is great news for the people of Aberdeen and the north-east and underlines our commitment to reversing years of under investment which has led to the kinds of pressures we see on the road network in and around Aberdeen every day.
“Over the next three decades, our investment in the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project is expected to bring in an additional £6 billion to the local economy and create around 14,000 new jobs. During construction we would expect to see benefits similar in scale to the recently completed M74 scheme, which directly generated 900 construction jobs. It will also provide on-the-job training for apprentices and local employment opportunities.
Brown revealed that advance works for the AWPR project are underway, with SMEs already benefitting, including a contract worth some £500,000 for the construction of a local connecting road at Findon Junction.
217,000 extra workers needed to meet COVID-19 recovery
As the construction industry’s recovery progresses, the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts have led the organisation to believe the industry will reach 2019 levels of output in 2022.
The CSN says there will be an increase in the number of construction workers in “most English regions” by 2025, with demands forecasted at a 1.7% rise for the East Midlands, and a 1.4% rise for the West Midlands.
Scotland and Wales are also predicted to see a surge in demand for construction workers with a total increase of 1.4% and 0.7% respectively. The North East is the only region to see a slight decline in workforce demand at -0.1%.
Wood and interior fit-out trades among the most desirable during COVID-19
According to CSN’s forecast, the trades that are the most wanted are those of wood and interior fit-outs, with both requiring around 5,500 workers per year. Other in-demand trades include technical staff and other construction professionals, requiring 5,150 workers each year, construction managers at 3,600, and the electrical installation trade, which requires 3,400 staff per year.
There is also expected to be demand for 7,850 non-construction, office-based professionals and technical and IT support staff each year. Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB, said: “It’s great to see construction coming back so strongly and creating lots of job opportunities.
“We need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly. We are working closely with the government and FE to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood.
“We must also make sure that we invest in the skills that will drive change and meet new and growing needs such as Net Zero emissions and Building Safety. We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills, and skills related to energy efficiency”, he said.