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16th Jun 2017
How Novus and the North West mayors can build a better future /
How Novus and the North West mayors can build a better future
Businesses across the North West watched the recent Greater Manchester and Liverpool mayoral election races with interest: it is one of the most significant legislative changes in the region in recent years, with potentially far-reaching consequences for businesses, individuals and other areas of the UK.
 
As the dust settles on the campaign trail, it is encouraging to see Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram begin the hard work of implementing the policies promised, such as Mr Burnham’s pledge to end homelessness.
 
Thanks to our work with the Macari Centre, where we recently launched our Skills for Life initiative, we understand the issues around homelessness and it is gratifying to see the mayor taking the problem so seriously.  However, we believe that equipping people with skills is a key part of preventing and addressing homelessness and poverty, and we think there is a big opportunity for Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram to lead the way on skills in the North West.
 
The skills shortage in construction is widely known, and is part of the reason that we dedicate time and effort to training apprentices and offering skills to those looking to start a career in this industry.  The potential shortfall in the North West is significant: a recent report by the Construction Industrial Training Board (CITB) showed that the number of extra recruits required to service the North West’s construction sector over the next five years is 5,140 per year.  
 
The same report states that the North West is projected to see annual average growth of 2.5 per cent in total construction output between now and 2021. But without helping people to gain the skills they need to support the industry, the predicted growth in the sector could stagnate.  That’s why we hope that securing this growth by addressing the skills shortage will become a priority for Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram’s first year in office.
 
In London, mayor Sadiq Khan has already acknowledged that strengthening the construction sector is key to the capital’s success, with the launch of his Construction Skills Academy set for later this year.  The North West should follow in his footsteps, with the new mayors working with companies like Novus to encourage young people and those from outside of the industry to consider a career in construction.  
 
Novus Property Solutions director, Chris Walford, said: “We know from our own work with apprentices and young people that our region has a vast pool of talent to draw from, and large scale projects such as HS2 and the ongoing work at the University of Manchester mean that the industry will remain a lucrative one for many years to come.  Equipping people with skills relevant to this growing industry will help with Mr Burnham’s quest to tackle homelessness, providing access to work and a potential route out of poverty.
 
“Devolved power in Greater Manchester presents an excellent opportunity for the whole of the north west region, with the chance to shape the political and economic agenda, and we are very excited about the coming months.”
 
With the right direction and political will, the North West can become a construction powerhouse, equipping people with skills required not just for the immediate future but for the next five or 10 years.  Companies like ours can work with Andy Burnham and Chris Rotheram to make the North West a true economic powerhouse, and our industry can lead the way.

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