Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of the education watchdog, warns against poor quality apprenticehips Sir Michael goes on to say, in his speech at the CBI conference “The economy is growing and there is a cross party consensus on the importance of vocational education in general and the need for more high-calibre apprenticeships in particular.” In addition the CPA Skills Report 2015 looks at ways in which the industry can work better with Sector Skills Councils and standard setting bodies.

There continue to be initiatives to encourage and inspire people into a career in construction. Tomorrow’s Engineers’ website provides a great number of resources to inspire young people in the amazing careers available in engineering, they have even released an engineering song . And their schools programme reached over 40,000 young people in 2014. Women make up just 11% of Britain’s construction workers. The Women into Construction group has joined forces with Crossrail in a bid to attract greater numbers of women into exciting roles in the building sector. For graduates entering the construction sector Crest Nicholson provide 5 tips for success.

Our own apprentice Emily Johnson is supporting the Construction Youth Trust by running 5km. The Construction Youth Trust is a great charity that helps young people by giving them access to training, education and employment opportunities in the construction industry.

The NHBC Standard 2016 has been published, introducing the most significant design and content revision in over two decades. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment is to look at the Quality of New Build Housing in England and examine what potential for improvement there is. Significant in light of the pledge to build a million homes by 2020. The Construction Industry Council provides an overview of how the enquiry will be managed. Nick Clegg criticises the conservative government for their assault on housing associations. This as the ONS has reclassified housing associations as public sector.

A new Supply Chain Sustainability Portal has been launched with the aim to share sustainability best practice. The portal is supported by 35 of the UK’s top construction contractors, FM service providers, clients and suppliers. It is hoped the resource will help to maintain a focus on quality and efficiency throughout the supply chain as the Government pushes to achieve its target of building a million homes by 2020.

With the government committing £100 billion to infrastructure spending by 2020 the newly formed National Infrastructure Commission, promises to put infrastructure at the heart of  the upcoming spending review. The Commission, chaired by Lord Adonis,is currently calling for evidence on three key areas: Northern Connectivity, London’s Transport System and Energy. The CBI/AECOM have released a survey of Infrastructure 2015 called Turning Momentum into Delivery. It highlights that 94% of businesses reported quality of infrastructure as a decisive factor when planning future investment but that the majority of firms (53%) are not confident of seeing a tangible improvement in the coming five years. As Sir John Armitt prepares to take on the role of president of the ICE, he talks to Infrastructure Intelligence about the infrastructure commission.

As part of George Osborne’s forthcoming spending review, to be announce on November 25th, nine new prisons are to be built across England and Wales as part of a £3 billion project. They will replace outdated Victorian jails, which will be sold off to free up space for around 3,000 homes and raise funds to pay for the building programme.

The UK steel industry has recently announced factory closures by SSI and Tata Steel. The House of Commons has produced a useful guide to the UK Steel Industry. Following a top-level summit with the key players from the UK steel industry the government has issued a press release, steel summit – the way forward, with a focus on three key areas: Public procurement, International comparisons, Competitiveness and productivity. Government has also issued new guidelines covering the purchase of steel for public sector construction projects.

Marketing Works and the University of Reading have released research into tendering habits and bid costs, surveying 179 firms – 60 of whom were main contractors. A key finding shows contractors spend an eye opening 22 per cent of their operational turnover tendering for work.

And finally congratulations to BAXI Genuine Parts Customer Service Team who have been awarded third place for its email provision and tenth place overall in the Top 50 Companies for Customer Service Awards 2015.

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