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New Civil Engineer and Costain call for recruitment revolution

Infrastructure project

The talent supply chain needs a “recruitment revolution” as the engineering sector gets ready to deliver the next generation of infrastructure projects, according to a new report.

Skills: Meeting Demand will be unveiled by New Civil Engineer and Costain today (22 November), and looks at the importance of recruiting more engineers, particularly given the skills shortage within the industry.

In the report, Costain’s infrastructure managing director Darren James bemoans that “the UK is not currently producing enough civil engineers for infrastructure projects let alone for any new programmes”.

The report also highlights the importance of recruiting from a diverse pool – from experts in big data to social scientists to planners, as well as extra-military personnel and young offenders. Many who have not trained as civil engineers have skills acquired in other sectors that the industry now needs.

There is particular attention paid to the opportunity created by the British Army’s plan to cut its numbers by 20,000 before 2020. Many of those released from service have valuable skills that could be transferred to the infrastructure sector.

“As we embark on the delivery of the next wave of infrastructure projects, we have a unique opportunity to future-proof the availability of talent with the diverse skills required to deliver them,” said Costain infrastructure managing director Darren James. “This could be transformative for the industry and we are driving forward with a recruitment revolution.

“We have already taken big steps forward but now we can really leverage the opportunity ahead and ensure that the UK has in abundance the skills to deliver the major and complex projects we need. We can meet any challenge thrown at us but in order to do so we need to think laterally about how, who and where we recruit.”

New Civil Engineer editor Mark Hansford commented: “With the urgent need for infrastructure to address major societal needs and with the rapid onset of technology transforming how that infrastructure is delivered, it is a fantastic time to be in this industry. We now have a fabulous opportunity to look clearly at the skills needed and at the different places these skilled people can be found.”

The full report can be read here.

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