VIDEO | How do we address the skills gap by 2030?

Solutions for the UK property industry’s growing skills shortage were the focus of a dynamic roundtable discussion hosted by Wates.


  • Steve Alcock, Torus
  • Jack Blodwell, Wates
  • Sarah Cooke, Wates
  • Josh Downes, Langtree
  • Judi Greenwood, Regeneration Brainery
  • Cllr John Hacking, Manchester City Council
  • Jo Harrop, Place Education
  • Natalie Milton, Wates
  • Sarah Morton, Mace
  • Charmaine O’Connor, PP O’Connor
  • Thomas Pickford, Business Growth Hub
  • Stuart Rogers, Muse
  • Stuart Wands, Rider Levett Bucknall

Key talking points

Featuring a mixture of developers, contractors, education providers, local authorities, and current apprentices, the roundtable approached the skills gap from various perspectives.

Universally, it was agreed that much needs to be done on changing public opinion surrounding construction. This can be tackled in a variety of ways, including taking a nod from armed forces recruitment and showcasing the wide breadth of careers available in the built environment.

Increasing the national minimum wage for apprenticeships was also pitched as a way to help attract more workers.

The industry also needs to expand its focus beyond just those in school. Several attendees pointed out that career returners, ex-military personnel, and prison leavers are markets worth tapping for talent.

Acknowledging the ever-changing needs in the industry, the need to recruit those with “green” skills was also mentioned. As much as innovation is changing the skills required for the jobs tomorrow, it can also help address the skills gap by reducing the need for a number of workers.

Several at the roundtable advocated for the industry to simply engage better with those already working on addressing the skills gap. This includes giving more funding to organisations like Regeneration Brainery and Place Education, which are actively engaging young people interested in joining the built environment.

The discussion was hosted by Place North West editor Julia Hatmaker, and held at Wates’s office in Trafford Park. Highlights from the roundtable can be seen in the video at the top of this article, as well as on the Place North West YouTube channel.

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