ACE Regional Chairman and AMP Consultants Managing Director, David Hodgson has been heavily involved with the release of a joint briefing between ACE1, CECA2 and ICE3 on the importance of infrastructure for the North East of England.
ACE Regional Chairman, David Hodgson, is a passionate believer that the North East has a great deal to offer the wider UK economy and was keen to have this briefing released to outline the available opportunities for the North East civil engineering industry.
The purpose of the briefing is to outline the importance of good infrastructure within the North East and the role it plays in both the local economy and the economy overall.
Good infrastructure within the country is a powerful enabler to growth and employment, but the construction sector alone contributes over 8% of the nation’s gross value added and employs 2 million people in over 300,000 firms.
The briefing aims to raise awareness of the importance of civil engineering in the North East and the impact it has on the region’s economy, communities and environment.
Civil engineering companies currently employ 50,000 people in the North East and can rapidly create employment opportunities in response to market demand. Consistent investment in infrastructure development will in this way quickly create and sustain employment and training opportunities in the civil engineering industry.
Beyond local infrastructure, the industry trains over 1200 new apprentices and graduates every year, even during the current recession. This commitment to skills development puts the North East in a very good position in preparing the region for emerging markets such as off-shore energy generation and the associated national and international export opportunities. North East businesses are world leaders in renewable energy and local universities in the North East are continually developing innovative power sources for the future.
The briefing also outlines the importance of sustainable development. Civil engineering has a critical role in ensuring new constructions deliver a complete benefit to society with no hidden costs to be paid by future generations. Affordability is important, but civil engineering projects should also “have a positive impact on nature, its resources and the environment”. These objectives can often seem to conflict, but it is the civil engineer’s job to resolve these conflicts.
The briefing concludes by setting out the next steps for civil engineering in the North East. Investment in new infrastructure is vital to develop the region with improvements in competitiveness heavily associated with effective transport links to the rest of the country.
Co-operation is key to this, with Local Enterprise Partnerships and the private sector working together to establish clear priorities and coherent development strategies.
David Hodgson said of the briefing: “The North East of England has a great deal to offer the UK economy, especially in the new industries relating to renewables. However, the region also needs improved infrastructure to fully realise these opportunities. It is clear that civil engineering will have a vital role in these developments and as both Regional Chairman of ACE and Managing Director of AMP Consultants I see the challenges ahead as hugely exciting”.
1ACE, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, represents the business interests of the consultancy and engineering industry in the UK. It is the leading business association in this fi eld, with around 600 companies large and small as members, operating across many different disciplines. ACE members contribute as much as £8bn per year to the UK economy, and collectively employ 90,000 people.
For more information about ACE visit: www.acenet.co.uk.
2CECA (NE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, has around 70 members across North East England ranging from multinational PLCs to SMEs working in their communities. CECA members carry out approximately 80% of North East civil engineering outturn.
For more information about CECA visit: www.ceca.co.uk.
3ICE, the Institution of Civil Engineers, is a UK charitable learned society that promotes and progresses civil engineering. It is the professional body which provides professional qualifications to civil engineers, and has over 80,000 members world-wide. Its North East members work throughout the country, not only in design, construction, utility and energy companies, but also in the public sector as policy advisers and delivery agents for many large infrastructure projects.
For more information about ICE visit: www.ice.org.uk.