Construction comprises the creation, planning, design and financing of projects from outset to completion. Generating countless jobs, it requires teamwork, skill and knowledge of materials and techniques, making it one of the outstanding examples of human ingenuity and brilliance.
Of course like many industries, construction has faced problems over the last few years. Yet as a whole it has managed to maintain itself, and having stayed steady over the course of the last decade, the construction industry now continues to flourish and play a major role in the economy. In Northern Ireland alone there are over 12,000 construction firms achieving total sales in the region of £2.5bn. An exciting industry, it employs over 2.2 million people in the UK through a variety of roles in exciting projects such as the London 2012 Olympics, which created over 33,500 jobs. The industry is only expected to grow in the coming years, and Construction 2025, published by the Coalition Government in 2013, summarises the industrial strategy for the construction sector in the coming decade.
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In terms of future projects and jobs, it has been reported that Northern Ireland construction firms could see big opportunities with the expansion of Heathrow Airport. However, the biggest news has come in the form of allocated funding, with the Department for Infrastructure minister, Chris Hazzard, welcoming an additional £25million funding allocation to stimulate and support infrastructure development. The funding is part of the Executive’s First Step Stimulus package announced during the October Monitoring round and it will be invested in roads maintenance and new buses.
Minister Hazzard said: ‘This £25million is a significant boost for the infrastructure sector and will help secure jobs in the construction and transport industries. The £15million for roads will see communities across the north benefit from a better and safer roads network. This additional funding will target structural maintenance on the local road network to help address maintenance backlogs.’
What this investment will also create, of course, is jobs. Hazzard continued: ‘This announcement is a welcome boost for the public and the construction industry and will help sustain hundreds of jobs in the sector.’
As ever, it seems that the construction industry is one that isn’t going anywhere, and with courses varying from part time to Higher Education, the construction department across the South West College is directly designed to introduce students to all aspects of the world of construction, and offer an avenue into all areas of the industry.
Recent innovations, such as the CREST centre, launched in 2015 with the aim of developing and testing sustainable construction methods and materials, means that South West College is one of the primary training facilities for the Construction industry, at a time when there is set to be a welcome increase in local projects and local jobs.