The first two episodes of a new podcast have already caught the attention of construction bosses this month, exploring urgent issues around the skills shortages in construction and the best ways to train the new generation.

The new ‘Construction Talk’ podcast interviewed Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), for its first episode, taking a hard look at the skills crisis in construction and the impact of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Skills Plan to support the recruitment and retention of talent in the industry in 2022.

Alasdair Reisner talks on the podcast about how COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for a new collaborative approach to skills issues:

“As an industry we’ve never been able to work collectively. But through the CLC, it’s been the first chance to say ‘look, we’re all facing a problem with talent’ – there’s not a single bit of industry saying no, we’ve got all the talent we need. Our whole industry really struggles to recruit the employees we need, to deliver what looks like a pretty good future,” he says.

“It’s crazy that, until last year, there wasn’t a single plan for our industry about how we were going to do that. So I was delighted when we did publish the CLC’s Skills Plan. For the first time we’ve got a skills plan that covers the whole industry, including measures around the attractiveness and culture of the industry, the routes into the industry and the skills for the future.”

The interview goes on to talk about the new Government-backed Construction Talent Retention Scheme and Talentview Construction which gets young people into apprenticeships, traineeships and entry roles, as well as exploring the huge impact of major infrastructure projects like HS2, creating 20-year careers and cutting-edge skills that can be exported around the world.

“2022 is the year of recruitment,” says Alasdair Reisner. “The skills shortages have got worse. We really have to go out there and sell this industry. People won’t just come to us because we want them to – we have to go out there and market the brilliant opportunities that are opening up to everyone.”

Episode 2 of Construction Talk tells the story of Nicola Bird, director of groundworks contractors K W Bell Group and founder of AccXel, the UK’s first industry-led education centre and a multimillion-pound facility established to tackle industry skills shortages.

Nicola describes how she set out initially to develop an apprenticeship scheme to help safeguard the future of the family business, but then became motivated to pursue a much bigger project, funded by government and her local enterprise partnership, to build AccXel – the aspirational and high-tech construction skills accelerator centre based near the Forest of Dene.

Nicola Bird also talks eloquently on the podcast about the importance of digital skills in construction and the expectations of young people curious about the sector.

“They expect that technology to be in our industry,” she says. “The only way we are going to start getting people inspired by our industry is by a quicker introduction into digitalisation, and it will make us more efficient in the long run anyway.”

The bi-weekly Construction Talk podcast forms part of a new community that Causeway Technologies is creating for its customers and the wider industry, including a monthly newsletter with six question quick-fire interviews with guest contributors, and plans for community events like roundtables, dinners and other networking opportunities later in the year. The podcast is hosted by Peter Haddock, a well-known voice in construction, and is freely available via both iTunes and Spotify.

Peter Haddock says:

“It's great to be working with Causeway Technologies on creating a community that can share ideas, experiences and views on key topics impacting the construction sector now and in the future. Our podcast guests share their passion for how we improve skills development and technology integration, showing us how we can do things differently, collaborate properly and embrace change.”

The most recent episode of the podcast features Mathew Ayres, group managing director at the Bennie Group, talking on the theme of “Winning the competitive edge with early technology adoption.”

To listen to the first three episodes of the Construction Talk podcast, go to: or check out the individual episode links below.

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