Manchester City Council’s plan to create 2,000 affordable homes a year across the city will be a vital opportunity to address the region’s skills shortage according to national developer, Wates Residential.
Under the new housing affordability framework, which was approved earlier this month, the council will accelerate house building to add to the 2,721 new homes created over the past five years through the council’s Affordable Homes Programme.
Wates Residential, the developer responsible for the construction of 240 new homes through Matrix Homes’ £24m Housing Investment Fund in Manchester, is now urging its peers to utilise the extra investment to ramp up skills training.
Jo Jamieson, Managing Director of Wates Residential, said:
“The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recently predicted that 6,650 new industry jobs will be created per year in the North West between 2016 and 2020*, positions that will need to be filled if we’re to maintain the projected 2.6% annual growth in construction output.
“There are promising signs of increased activity in the region, evidenced by Manchester City Council’s investment in further affordable homes, but with this comes an increasing pressure for housing developers to increase skills training to grow the available labour pool.”
The call to action forms part of Jo’s effort to champion the skills agenda through her position on the national board of The Housing Forum. The Housing Forum is the leading network of public and private sector bodies that work collaboratively to inform and influence the housing industry across the UK.
“Attracting, training and supporting the future workforce is a huge area of focus for The Housing Forum and using live projects as a practical learning ground for apprentices and trainees is an incredibly effective means of achieving this. It is for this reason that investments such as Manchester City Council’s new housing affordability framework are fundamental to addressing the skills challenge.”
Wates’ completion of Matrix Homes’** Housing Investment Fund in February 2016 saw the developer build 240 new homes across five sites in Manchester where 1,775 training weeks were provided for local people.
Wates’ commitment to provide sustainable training and employment opportunities for local people includes its nationwide trainee scheme, its ‘Build Yourself’ school engagement programme and its on-site training initiative ‘Building Futures’, designed specifically for jobseekers.
*CITB Industry Insights, Construction Skills Network Forecasts 2016-2020
**Matrix Homes is a joint venture company between Manchester City Council, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and the Homes and Communities Agency.