Scottish Construction Leadership Forum: From Recovery to Transformation

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Looking back over 2021 the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) has made steady progress on its Recovery Plan giving strong grounds for optimism about the long-term health of the sector.

The industry collaboration body has met significant numbers of the milestones it set itself last year after the first Covid shutdown, when, following a safe restart of construction in Scotland it turned its attention to a wider plan for the future.

The Forum, worked to develop and implement a Recovery Plan of improvement initiatives aligned with Government policies and Construction Scotland’s Industry Strategy launched in October 2020.

The CLF partners are now working towards a root and branch transformation of the sector into a productive, profitable, low-carbon and socially responsible construction industry.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and Chair of the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), said: “I am very pleased with the way the sector has pulled together to tackle the challenges faced recently with the pandemic and construction material shortages. The next step is for us to continue this collaboration to drive transformation towards a more sustainable, productive, innovative and diverse industry.

“That is why I recently approved £279,000 funding for the Construction Leadership Forum to progress actions in the Construction Recovery Plan. Embedding a fair work culture and upskilling the workforce for a digitalised transformation across the range and scale of design, manufacture, construction, and maintenance activities will be required to deliver a decarbonised built environment.”

Peter Reekie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust and chair of the executive group of the Scottish CLF, said: “In terms of what was required to build a stronger, fairer and greener economic future, the Forum has made solid progress over the past very difficult year.

“The Recovery Plan built on immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term aims, focused on five areas: Pipeline and Commercial; Skills and Workforce; Transformation; Supply Chain Resilience and Capability; and Industry Data and Insight.

“The pipeline has been a standout success with the launch of the Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool, which provides the construction industry with greater clarity and understanding of future public sector construction projects to be delivered across Scotland.

“With a current value of just under £8.5 billion, and as will be disclosed shortly, rising significantly, the innovative online tool has details of more than 1,150 future public sector infrastructure projects and covers many sectors including education, health, housing and flood prevention.

“Of the 1,150 project opportunities, approximately 60% are below £2 million in value, emphasising the focus on providing opportunities to small and medium sized enterprises.”

While supply chain pressures have dominated much of the news cycle in recent months, progress had been made in areas such as supply chain mapping. This process of documenting companies and suppliers to create a map of the network is being explored to identify supply solutions which are closer to home and reduce product miles.

Concerns about the effects of the pandemic on the future for apprentices had been significantly alleviated over the year as employers made strenuous efforts, backed by trade bodies such as SELECT and SNIPEF, not only to maintain but to increase intake numbers.

Numbers were also boosted by a range of help and support made available by Skills Development Scotland to allow employers to take on an apprentice.

Mr Reekie added: “The Forum is taking a long-term view in what continues to be an uncertain environment. It plans to help create a thriving and responsible industry which offers quality jobs to a highly skilled and diverse workforce and a life-time value product to its customers.

“The recovery has been stronger than expected and, while that brings its own challenges, the collaboration has progressed well, creating a firm foundation for transformation of the industry for the good of the people, places and economy of Scotland in the years to come where I am sure we will increasingly be centre stage in the race to net zero.”

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