Essex construction businesses set to benefit from new alliance

Business / Sat 23rd Sep 2023 at 06:09am

THE Essex Construction Alliance launched at its inaugural event on 15 September. Taking place at the Harlow Civic Centre, the event gave members the chance to set the direction for the group.

Construction plays an essential role in the local economy. It has a Gross Value Added (GVA) of over £4 billion. The sector also employs approximately 65,500 people across Essex.

The Essex Construction Alliance will optimise the growth of the sector. It will bring together large and small businesses alike to promote new opportunities. The group will also help businesses to overcome challenges regarding funding, skills gaps and more.

The Alliance’s first event was hosted in partnership with Essex County Council, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The event featured a series of expert speakers. This included RT Hon Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education. RT Hon Halfon spoke about the importance of innovative skills programmes to address workforce shortages in the sector.

The event also marked the launch of the Essex Business Community Pledge. This invites businesses to commit to a series of skills, training and employment actions.

The council will help businesses to achieve their pledge actions through technical support and promotion.

Businesses that were unable to attend are invited to join the Essex Construction Alliance by emailing [email protected]. They will be invited to future events and be the first to hear about local growth opportunities.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, said: “I was delighted to launch the Essex Construction Alliance at the Harlow Civic Centre.

“We are ambitious about Levelling Up our economy and know the construction sector will be essential in achieving these goals. The sector is set for significant growth over the next five years and we want to ensure businesses have the talent, training and resources to seize opportunities.

“The launch of the Essex Construction Alliance marks an important milestone in our work with the sector. Through ongoing collaboration, we will ensure local small and large businesses alike are able to access opportunities here in Essex, across the UK and internationally.”

Councillor Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy, added: “The Essex construction sector is set to grow by more than 30% by 2040. We need to ensure local businesses can access opportunities to enhance our strong, sustainable and inclusive economy.

“The launch of the Essex Construction Alliance recognises our ongoing commitment to supporting construction growth in Essex. Construction was also recognised as a key growth sector in our 2022 Sector Development Strategy.

“Through this new working group, we will find ways of filling workforce gaps. We will also establish ways of working to meet the needs of our economy whilst protecting our environment. This will help us work towards a net-zero Essex without stifling construction innovation.” 

Councillor Andrew Sheldon, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability, said: “Essex needs approximately 10,000 new construction jobs to drive the sector forward. We need to foster alternative entry routes to fill these vacancies. These include apprenticeships, T Levels, degree apprenticeships and more.

“We also have an ambition to create a more even gender split in the sector. More than 82% of UK construction workers are male. We’ll be helping women and girls to find inspiration and support to secure roles and progress. This will help to develop a diverse sector that can truly thrive.”

Join the Essex Construction Alliance by emailing [email protected].

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