Weekly News Bulletin - 24th November 2017

Metsec Weekly News Bulletin

This week, we shared encouraging news from The Guardian that order books for Britain’s factories are at their strongest since 1988. Whilst this has resulted in higher factory outputs, manufacturing only accounts for 10% of the economy.

On a similar topic, this week Theresa May announced that the Government is looking to invest £2.3bn in R&D and £1.7bn in infrastructure development by 2022 to encourage manufacturers to help shape the future of the UK.

We also saw an interesting thought piece on whether manufacturing workers should be fearful for their jobs due to new technology. Based on England’s history with technological developments, there is certainly reason for the concern. On the other hand, Construction Global released news this week that the UK could create an additional 175,000 new jobs by embracing upcoming technology. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Industry 4.0 and how you see it fitting into your future.

A regular topic in the construction industry at the moment is apprenticeships, and this week was no different with Chris Grayling and Anne Milton promoting apprenticeships at the Skills Show in Birmingham. The Guardian supported this call for apprenticeships with an article that asked for the Government to address the skills shortage threatening Britain currently, especially with Brexit. With news that ‘tens of thousands’ of new engineers will be needed in the coming years due to high profile projects such as the HS2 railway line, we look forward to seeing how the Government promotes apprenticeships in the coming year.

We also shared an article from the Construction Enquirer revealing 64% of firms note a lack of quantity surveyors, as well as 44% reporting a shortage of workers within specific trades. With this in mind, there is a concern that this will cause a significant strain on resources and it is suggested that apprentices are slowing the industry. Here at Metsec, we would argue that our apprentices have been invaluable to the team in learning their craft and serve to make us more efficient collectively. What are your thoughts?

Finally, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced plans for a reform, which includes closing its airbase HQ in Norfolk and relocating to Peterborough. This reform comes after criticism that it is no longer fit for purpose.

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UK manufacturing order books at strongest level since 1988, CBI says

Global demand for British goods and weak pound bring sharp improvement in both total and export order books
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/21/uk-manufacturing-order-books-strongest-level-since-1988-cbi-says

Government announces billions in funding for R&D and infrastructure development

The UK government has announced substantial new investment in research & development (R&D) and transport development as part of its industrial strategy.
https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2017/november/government-announces-billions-in-funding-for-rd-and-infrastructure-development/

Should manufacturing sector workers fear or welcome new information technology?

When technologies known as disruptive are introduced to any industry one thing is usually certain: humans will be replaced.
http://www.computerweekly.com/blog/Fintech-makes-the-world-go-around/Should-manufacturing-sector-workers-fear-or-welcome-new-information-technology

Construction needs to embrace industrial digitalisation

The “Industrial Digitalisation Review,” a UK government-commissioned review on industrial digitalisation, has suggested that the UK could create £455bn (US$600bn) and 175,000 new jobs by embracing Industry 4.0 technology like 3D printing.
http://www.constructionglobal.com/equipment-and-it/construction-needs-embrace-industrial-digitalisation

Grayling: 'Lots of apprentices' needed to address engineering skills gap

Transport secretary Chris Grayling and skills minister Anne Milton promote the importance of apprenticeships at the Skills Show
https://www.tes.com/news/further-education/breaking-news/grayling-lots-apprentices-needed-address-engineering-skills-gap

The Brexit clock is ticking - time for Hammond to boost apprenticeshipsk

Budget should include measures on training and skills shortages, with British firms set to lose easy access to migrant labour
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/nov/18/apprenticeships-budget-hammond-skills-shortages-brexit

White collar skills crisis strangling construction

A dire shortage of construction professionals is holding back the industry’s progress.
https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/11/16/white-collar-skills-crisis-strangling-construction/

CITB Announces Major Reform Plans

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced plans to reform in an effort to establish itself as a 'simpler, more streamlined organisation'.
http://www.simian-risk.com/citb-announces-major-reform-plans/