In the fourth of our new series of articles on careers Hays Civil & Structural director Greg Lettington sets out how the budget may affect civil engineers.
How will the 2009 Budget affect civil & structural professionals?
This year’s green Budget, announced in April, was highly anticipated and is set to inject positive change into the civil & structural industry. Welcome measures such as the investment in infrastructure and new low carbon initiatives are certainly steps in the right direction and ones which should give a much-needed boost to engineering jobs. The 2009 Budget also promised £525M new funding for offshore wind projects, an extra £435M for energy efficiency in homes and building, £600M for building new homes on dormant sites, a further £600M to increase housing supply, £405M of new funding for low carbon energy and advanced green manufacturing and up to four carbon-capture demonstration projects.
This newly proposed low carbon economy with green jobs at its centre, can only work as long as these essential infrastructure projects are funded for the long term. To ensure there is long-term funding for essential infrastructure works, the ICE has suggested a National Infrastructure Bank. This could plug some of the gap created by the recession and allow the cost of major projects to be spread over their very long, operational life.
There is no getting away from the fact that there is a decline in workload across much of the sector, but it is hoped that many of the proposed measures will help to improve the situation; contractors need confidence about their medium to long term work prospects.
As with other aspects of the development of the low carbon economy the government must invest in the necessary engineering skills to deliver and maintain this vital infrastructure. It is clear that sustainability is on Darling’s list of priorities and that’s a good sign, although, it will take time to see how these plans will affect our industry and the wider economy. In the long term, it is crucial that we have sufficient numbers of people who are adequately skilled to deliver these initiatives – we don’t want to return to the skills shortages that we were faced with 18 months ago. In order to attract new talent to the industry the government also plans to tackle youth unemployment by offering all under 25s who have been out of work for a year, a job or training - adding £260M funding for youth training in high future demand industries.
The main message is that you should be encouraged by the positive changes being made and keep an eye out for the opportunities that this new green Budget will bring. Green jobs are set to become a part of the industry and it is worth making the effort to understand how that might affect you in the long term.”
Hays now offers an outplacement service so that organisations can help employees through the redundancy transition. Specialist consultants have extensive sector-specific knowledge and are best placed to help your staff deal with the change in circumstances and equipping them with new skills to find work. For further information contact Gaelle Blake at Hays on 07775706282.