‘We are building a ‘golden age’ of construction’, says Kier Group CEO

Kier Group CEO is optimistic that, with investment in upskilling, the construction industry can help support economic recovery

Andrew Davies, Chief Executive of the Kier Group, has opened the Cardiff Business Club’s 2021/22 season of live speaker events by discussing the positive outlook for the construction industry and Wales’s comprehensive economic recovery.

Mr Davies, who joined Kier as CEO in April 2019 following a challenging time for the company, praised the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan to support economic recovery through the building of schools, hospitals, prisons, roads and rail and suggests a positive outlook for the industry, and the country as a whole, emphasising the need to invest in upskilling workers today and in the future.

Kier, a National Infrastructure Services and Construction Group, turns over c.£3.5bn and employs 11,000 direct employees plus a similar number of supply chain partners on its UK-wide sites. Trading in south Wales for more than 50 years, Kier is a key part of the local economy with offices in St Mellons and SA1 Swansea. It employs over 110 Welsh based employees in construction alone covering pre-construction, design, commercial and operational services alongside graduates. Turnover in Wales has grown from £57m in 2018/19 to £76m in 2020/21. Key Clients include Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, City and County of Swansea, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Neath Port Talbot Council. Current active projects include the construction of the £64.3m Fitzalan Secondary School in Cardiff, and £30m Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials at Swansea University.

Mr Davies said: “We are committed to our established local Welsh supply chain with consistently high performing partners, while also looking to provide opportunity for new SME’s. Our supply chain working groups work further with our supply chain to collaborate on several subjects including the Welsh Government Net Zero Carbon targets, which are being adopted by the industry as a new minimum level.

“Upskilling is also paramount to our strategy as, without comprehensive training programmes, we wouldn’t be able to continue developing the talent we need and enable the necessary innovation to ensure the industry’s survival.

“Within Wales specifically we are working with CITB, Cardiff Council, Procure Plus and Cylfe Building Skills to develop their construction training and employment hubs which will help unlock 9,250 additional construction workers for Wales.

“It is clear that skills and capability are going to be a huge area of focus as we shape up to deliver on a demanding programme of work over the next few years.”

With Kier primarily focussed on government, public sector and regulated industries, the company is well-placed to benefit from a series of Government announcements to increase investment in infrastructure through the National Infrastructure Strategy and Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan to support economic recovery through the building of schools, hospitals, prisons roads and rail.

Mr Davies continued: “In theory, we should be looking ahead to a ‘golden age’ of construction…if we get it right.”

The event was sponsored by Q5 Partners and was the first live speaker event for the Cardiff Business Club since March 2020, during which time Zoom seminars were hosted monthly for both members and non-members. For details on future events, visit https://www.cardiffbusinessclub.org/events.