“Skills to Build”, a new report by KPMG, has hit the headlines in the past couple of days (here’s a link to ICAEW, but you’ll also find the story in the mainstream press – quite exciting for an infrastructure story!
The big story of Skills to Build is that the UK faces a critical skills shortage for major projects. KPMG’s focus is on housing (a shortage of which of course makes it even harder for new construction talent, immigrant or home-grown, to put down roots in our cities).
But the same is true in other aspects of heavy industry. And don’t forget that infrastructure is one of the most important ways that private and public sectors come together to prime the economic pump. We need talent, and we need it on-site.
Why does this matter to programme managers? Well, obviously it’s a challenge round the corner. But it highlights the importance of talent management throughout the project lifecycle. If the flow of talent is restricted, it becomes even more important to maximise the value out of the people you do have; and to plan ahead.
That planning should go well beyond ‘human resources’ and the logistics of who goes where and does what. Wise programme managers will be thinking about how to nurture teams and departments for the long term – especially when contractor arrangements mean that decisions are often made at arms length from the people at the coalface. A motivated and proactively managed team is not only more productive – it is less likely to fragment as talented professionals leave for pastures new.