Companies in the industry that have already announced headcount reductions due to the economic damage of Covid-19 include Wates (300 jobs going), Atkins (280), Forterra (225 jobs) and Ibstock (375) and JCB (1,450 including agency staff).
However, opportunities for new employment do exist – CityFibre and Vivalda have both announced recruitment drives.
CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, is launching a three-year recruitment and training programme to provide up to 10,000 people with work upgrading the UK’s digital infrastructure to full fibre.
CityFibre says that its recruitment programme will include the identification and training of thousands of unemployed UK residents as well as new job opportunities for qualified and experienced construction and telecoms workers. Jobs will be created within CityFibre’s growing pool of network construction partners delivering the up to £4bn rollout of full fibre infrastructure to over 100 towns and cities.
The programme will target specific groups including service-leavers and those now unemployed as a result of the coronavirus crisis, it says. It will also seek to attract more women and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, both of which are significantly under-represented in the construction industry. Recruitment campaigns will begin later this month.
On completion of training, recruits will be introduced to CityFibre’s local network construction partners and considered for a range of network delivery roles.
CityFibre chariman Steve Holliday said: “We’re delighted to launch our training and recruitment programme creating up to 10,000 jobs in such a critical and vibrant sector. The programme will reach deep into our society to include some of those most in need of opportunity. Ultimately, it will ensure the skilled workforce is in place to get the job done and at the same time provide up-skilling and well-paid jobs across more than 100 towns and cities.
“In the wake of the Coronavirus, delivering the Government’s target of full fibre nationwide by 2025 could not be more important. Of all the infrastructure projects and industrial policies under consideration, full fibre will have the biggest impact in the shortest time, and for the least public money. It will help ensure that the UK not only recovers economically, but that it swiftly transitions to a greener, smarter and fairer economy in which to thrive.”
Also recruiting is cladding specialist Vivalda Group, which is looking for cost estimators, designers, warehouse operatives, drivers, sales managers and IT specialists. With so much non-regulation cladding still needing to be replaced on buildings around the country, companies like Vivalda remain busy.
The £37m turnover business is looking to fill numerous roles at its sites in Cumbernauld, Hull Manchester, Birmingham, London, Swanley and Cheltenham.
Vivalda Group chairman Peter Johnson said: “My heart goes out to sectors of the economy where there is little prospect of a return to work, but at least in construction we have the full blessing of government to restart in earnest, especially where remediation work on unsafe cladding is concerned.
“Thankfully we have the certainty of the £1.6bn government Building Safety Fund to replace dangerous cladding with the non-combustible type we supply. That’s what’s fuelling our new recruitment drive.”