Homes demand can give county a boost

The Biba's at Blackpool Tower Ballroom
The Biba's at Blackpool Tower Ballroom
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Demand for new homes could provide a jobs and skills boost for Lancashire’s economy, according to a local business leader.

Alistair Clayton, of Leyland-based Aston Services Group, said research had shown the industry needs to recruit 400,000 people a year to meet the demand of the country’s housing and infrastructure projects.

The group is the sponsor of the Construction Business of the Year category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which is now open for applications.

In 2015, the cleaning, maintenance and security firm won two prizes at the awards under the name Cleanall Services, it changed its name following a merger in 2016.

Alistair said: “The construction industry has a great opportunity to invest in a new generation of highly-skilled workers in trades such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters and joiners, all of which are in short supply.

“The industry has a chance to boost the number of apprentices it is taking on to fill the skills gap which is being left, and Lancashire construction firms are well-placed to make the most of it.

“When you add the opportunities which large-scale infrastructure programmes offer, there is a real need for long-term investment in this industry and we have seen the effects of this in the increase in the size and number of builders cleans we are being contracted to.”

The report by consultants Arcadis showed two million people would have to join the sector over five years if the national housing and infrastructure construction backlog was to be overcome. It calculates nearly 371,000 recruits will be needed every year to meet housing targets, while infrastructure projects will require around 36,000 annually.

The BIBAs has 18 prize categories open for applications from Lancashire until the end of March.