Consultation launched on strategy to avert feared shortfall of regeneration professionals

A national strategy to boost the number of regeneration professionals has been launched for public consultation.

The Brownfield Skills Strategy calls for cross-sector action to increase the available manpower, so that government regeneration targets can be met.

At least 60% of the government’s pledged 3 million homes must be built on brownfield sites. Last year construction on brownfield land accounted for 70% of new UK homes.

Research for the strategy, devised by English Partnerships and the Academy for Sustainable Communities, revealed that there could be a shortfall of 680,000 skilled staff by 2012. This includes 300,000 engineers and developers, and 140,000 surveyors.

Speaking at English Partnerships’ annual brownfield conference, Professor Paul Syms, the agency’s national brownfield adviser, said: “Ensuring that there are enough professionals at all stages of the regeneration process, and that they have the necessary skills, is absolutely fundamental to the reuse of brownfield land for sustainable housing growth and other development.

“These numbers are significant, and if we are to maintain our current success in reusing brownfield sites, then addressing the brownfield skills gap is of paramount importance. It is a cornerstone of our recommendations to government for the first-ever National Brownfield Strategy.”

The strategy calls for greater involvement with universities and the establishment of a skills development framework to tackle changing skills needs.

The consultation for the strategy closes on 27 May and the results will be released in August.