How Will Contractors Rise to the Increased Infrastructure Projects Challenge?

£27bn for new road projects and £2.5bn to repair existing highways – the recent Budget had plenty of infrastructure news. Whilst we grapple as an industry with the huge disruption Covid-19 is causing to existing projects and potentially to scheduled programmes, it is still important to look forward at the long-term picture for infrastructure investment and recognise that it looks an optimistic one.

The new investments are on top of existing and scheduled projects aimed at making road and rail networks safer, more efficient and reliable. Alongside this, we have to maintain existing assets so they are more resilient and work better for customers, including those with disabilities.

Delivering the existing agenda is already stretching the creativity and adaptability of the sector at all levels, from procurement to design and delivery. Additional large scale projects will stretch these qualities even further.

This will not be a time for relying on traditional methods – there’s too much to do and expectations are changing too rapidly for that.

The Skills to Deliver

The next few years will demand new skills from contractors – both technical skills and also creative skills like innovation and communication. You can’t look into the future to see which contractors will rise to the challenge, but maybe you can look into the recent past for clues.

We discussed in an earlier article how training is essential for any organisation that expects to thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

Commitment to training and development is a key indicator of how organisations deal with change. Even more so, because it’s a commitment that’s difficult to maintain when the pressure is on to hit targets and meet tight deadlines.

In times of rapid change and growing expectations, training and development needs to be available for all staff and actively supported by business leaders. That is one of the fundamental principles we operate within Osborne.

To give you a flavour, here are a few highlights.

  1. Nearly 3200 training days across over 100 courses were delivered last year
  2. 10% of our workforce are Mental Health First Aid trained
  3. 10% of our workforce are apprentices and graduate trainees
  4. All staff have an Annual Development Day to volunteer with an organisation

Training and development are part of our commitment to sustainability. This helps us ensure we are ready to meet whatever challenges the future throws our way, whether they be commercial, technical or climate-related.