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Boost for trades training prospects as construction returns to growth

There are signs that the long-hoped for recovery in the construction industry is finally starting to happen, with a survey pointing to the strongest outlook for jobs in the sector since 2008.

Demand for construction staff and tradespeople is increasing, according to recruitment company Manpower, which found the first positive predictions on hiring plans for five years. It said the national outlook was up by five per cent on the first quarter of the year and was six per cent ahead of 2012.

The boost for jobs, and the expected knock-on increase in demand for trades training for apprentices, was especially strong in and around London.

Manpower managing director, Mark Cahill, said: “Glance up and you’ll see that there are more cranes on the London skyline than in the rest of the country put together. But it’s not just fancy skyscrapers like the ‘Cheesegrater’ and the ‘Walkie Talkie’– if you look down you’ve also got Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project with 42km of tunnel connecting the city from East to West.”

Most regions reported a surge in demand for skilled tradespeople, with London and East of England predicting a 13 per cent growth in recruitment in the second half of the year. The North East was the only region that did not expect to see growth.

The Manpower survey also found more companies were looking for permanent rather than temporary staff, signalling they expect the better picture to continue. The recruiter has been asked to fill 1,000 skilled permanent positions for engineering group Babcock next year.

The good news from Manpower was backed up by official figures on the economy from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which said the UK is likely to have returned to a trend of sustained growth by the end of this year.