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Construction industry bounce-back gives huge boost to Scotland operation

Posted by Alex Rutter on 1/03/2022
117521768 St James

A WELCOME bounce-back in the construction industry has put Russell Taylor Group’s Scotland operation at the heart of a huge boost to the country’s large scale building and infrastructure programmes.

Nationally, Scottish construction has come back forcefully after the pandemic with the sector expected to grow by an annual average of more than 4 per cent, recovering to pre-Covid-19 growth levels by 2023.

For Dunfermline-headquartered Russell Taylor, this has resulted in its own recruitment workforce being more than tripled to cope with the demand for skilled construction trades workers who are vital to bringing major build projects to fruition.

From July 2020, the staff of two has now grown to seven with plans to reach a headcount of 10 by the end of the year. This surge in numbers has also meant moving offices three times in the same period to accommodate the expanding team.

Said Scotland regional manager Andrew Stephen, pictured with his team: “After an extremely challenging period for the Scottish construction industry since the coronavirus outbreak, there’s now an air of optimism that recovery is well on its way.

“For almost two years we have felt the impact of contractors striving to finish existing projects while complying with government regulations, protecting workers on-site, managing supply chains and, at the same time, protecting their staff.

“Added to this has been the impact of Brexit, tightening barriers to entry into the UK and seeing us lose accessibility to a fair proportion of skilled and semi-skilled construction workers.

“Our job now is to make sure only the best bricklayers, joiners, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, scaffolders and labourers are selected to work on new major projects in Scotland  – some of which have been affected by a shortage of skilled labour – so they are completed on time and can contribute to the predicted upturn in the industry.”

According to a study by the Construction Industry Training Board, construction in Scotland has come back strongly post-Covid and 26,250 extra jobs need to be created by 2025 to meet demand.

This is on top of the anticipated annual average workforce growth of 1.4 per cent per year until 2025 which includes turnover from new recruits and retirements.

Scotland’s construction workforce was estimated to be 226,100 at the end of 2020 and is now set to increase to 241,800 by the end of 2025.

Supplying skilled labour for the sustainable construction of the £1 billion retail and leisure development of St James Quarter in Edinburgh – with its luxury Gleneagles Townhouse Hotel, apartments and restaurants - contributed to Russell Taylor Group’s confidence in a market upturn along with recruitment teams matching construction experts and trades specialists with contractors to complete the £35.1 million Maybole bypass in Ayrshire.

Currently, working as an integral part of the push to complete some of the country’s biggest building programmes, Russell Taylor Scotland has consultants supplying construction workers for the £54 million development of the new Cornton Vale women-only prison in Stirling.

And with the Scottish government looking to get back on track with its target of building 100,000 new affordable homes over the next decade, involvement in the country’s social housing strategy can only mean more good news for the construction trades sector.

Andrew added: “All this adds up to a buoyant construction market where there will be many well-paid job opportunities throughout Scotland for a full range of skills to serve new commercial, social and residential building projects.”