Construction boss behind £100m of Liverpool projects warns of chronic skills shortage

Tom Anwyl, director of the North Wales-based Anwyl Group, says an ageing Merseyside workforce was leading to a skills crisis in the construction sector. Tony McDonough reports

Tom Anwyl, director of the North Wales-based Anwyl Group

Merseyside’s construction sector is being held back by the chronic shortage of skills, a leading developer says.

Tom Anwyl, director of the North Wales-based Anwyl Group, is overseeing two major projects in Liverpool city centre with a combined value of almost £100m.

Mr Anwyl told YBNews that an ageing local workforce, many of whom are heading towards retirement, was leading to a skills crisis in the construction sector.

He comments echoed those expressed at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber’s recent Quarterly Economic Survey business breakfast where the issue was also raised.

Construction accounts for 10% of the North West’s £157bn economy and construction business levels are growing by 25%, says Mr Anwyl.

He added: “The construction industry is one of the key areas of the local and national economy and is a barometer of how that economy is faring.

“Traditionally we lead the way out of a recession and often the first signs of an impending slump are felt in the building industry but what concerns me is the looming shortage of skilled workers.

“This amounts to a ticking time bomb as skilled workers approach retirement and there is a shortfall of those being trained to replace them.

“At Anwyl we are proud of our record in training – 20% of our staff of 150 actually began with us as apprentices and many of those are now in senior positions within the company.

Anwyl Group has a number of apprentices on its workforce and encourages sub-contractors to do the same

“We also encourage our sub-contractors to take on apprentices and their willingness and commitment to apprenticeships is one of the criteria we use in taking them on.

“Apprentices are the lifeblood of the industry and never more than now as an ageing workforce combined with competitive salaries from other fields has seen a decline in the number of skilled workers in the construction sector.”

Anwyl Construction have had planning permission for its first two major projects in Liverpool within the last six months – a £60m eco-friendly apartment development in the city’s Pall Mall district and a £35m student residential complex in Norton Street.

Its Homes division has plans to build more than 1,000 new houses in the next three years with work started or planned at sites in Sandbach, Newton-le-Willows, Congleton, Ellesmere Port, Willaston, Alsager and Audlum.

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