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Derby-Nottingham enterprise zone reveals £10bn work programme

The local enterprise partnership for Derby and Nottingham D2N2 has revealed a pipeline that could be worth more than £10bn to contractors.

Research by D2N2 in conjunction with the CITB found 943 projects in the planning pipeline between 2016 and 2020, worth a total of £10.42bn.

These include 180 ‘significant’ projects, worth £8.65bn.

Many of the major projects are concentrated around the centre of Nottingham and Nottingham University, with local spending boosted by D2N2’s Growth Deal, which will add £192m of funding for capital investment across the two cities.

Housing projects worth more than £800m will either get under way or complete during 2016, as well as £791m of private commercial schemes and £514m of infrastructure projects.

The research also identified major skills gaps across the region, with labour demands of nearly 60,000 workers for projects in 2016 alone.

The regional workforce stands at 79,400, while over 90 per cent of firms employ fewer than 10 people.

According to the report, there will be significant skills gaps in wood trades, plumbing, bricklayers and roofers in the region, which could have an impact on the construction pipeline.

To address these skills issues, the enterprise partnership is working closely with Derby College and other local education providers to ensure worker shortages are addressed before they arise.

Speaking at a launch event for the D2N2 report, Derby College head of construction Tracey Hutchinson said “more input is needed from employers” to inform the curriculum and prioritise areas where skills gaps will be felt most keenly.

Ian Hodgkinson, managing director of local contractor Hodgkinson Bricklaying Contractors, said that the report gave “vital guidance to where the local industry is going,” but warned that there was “a terrible perception” of construction in the region.

“The biggest challenge for us isn’t down to planning constraints or materials, it’s skills,” he added.

Earlier this year, the region agreed a draft devolution deal, which could include an annual skills and training fund of £150m and a £200m housing investment fund to support new housing and affordable homes.

Research from Gleeds also suggested a lack of local contractors, coupled with difficulties attracting tenders to projects under £10m, has left a significant gap in the market that contractors could exploit.

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