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Conservatives challenged to fill infrastructure skills gap as conference opens

Lee Baker
01 October 2016
HS2 Ltd, plans a new station at Birmingham, hosting the Conservative Party conference, and wants to help address a skills shortage. © Copyright Robin Stott and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.
HS2 Ltd, plans a new station at Birmingham, hosting the Conservative Party conference, and wants to help address a skills shortage. © Copyright Robin Stott and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

 

The Conservatives are set to be challenged to act on an infrastructure skills gap that industry figures assert threatens to hinder the delivery of HS2 and other transport infrastructure.

Construction firm Laing O'Rourke and Prospect magazine are to host a meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that aims to tackle what the company describes as "an acute" skills shortage with a need for over 150,000 engineering construction personnel by 2020, in part because only nine per cent of engineering positions filled by women and three per cent by ethnic minorities. Laing O'Rourke, writing ahead of the meeting, called on the Government to speed up the approval of apprenticeships, to introduce GCSEs and A-levels in design, engineering and construction, and incentivise universities to offer technical part-time degrees in the subjects.

The roundtable discussion will focus on how the new administration's industrial strategy can help address the skills gap, and will include representatives from HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester.

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