Construction News: Moving On From Carillion's Demise

an image of an empty construction site This month, we learned the news of the collapse of Carillion. With the firm only having £29m in the bank, and having debts surmounting to more than £1.3bn, insolvency was clearly on the horizon for the firm. Now the question still remains as to how this happened. Why did Carillion get into so much debt? Why had no action been taken when the warning signs were present? I am sure answers will be unveiled in time. The demise of Carillion is huge news. Not only did they serve as a major construction contractor for the government, but they also supplied services to schools and hospitals. Jobs risks are clearly imminent. And some people have already lost their jobs. Carillion employs approx. 43,000 people globally, with 20,000 employees being in the UK. But perhaps the biggest victim from Carillion's demise is the UK's construction sector. There are numerous construction contracts under Carillion. And these include the HS2 project and Highways England. Most of these contracts have stopped. And many media outlets have reported seeing deserted construction sites.

The Silver Lining

Now the media is going to go into a great deal of doom and gloom about this. After all, doom and gloom sells well in the world of journalism. But the downfall of Carillion is not going to leave a permanent dent in the construction sector. There are construction projects yet to be completed, and the demand for construction workers in the UK is still as high as ever. The UK is still reeling from the after-effects of Brexit. And before the UK voted to leave the EU, the sector did rely on recruiting workers from outside the UK. But since post-Brexit, the sector has been pushing for more people from the UK to consider a career in  construction. News reports of privates sector firms bidding for incomplete Carillion contracts have begun to surface. And this is positive news. Most recently, construction firm Kier have been awarded a HS2 contract, to build a tunnel from Birmingham to London, as part of a joint venture with French civil engineering firm Eiffage. This successful bid has saved up to 200 construction jobs. It's important to keep in mind that there are other construction firms out there. And those incomplete contracts will need to be completed. Because let's face it, no one wants to see a construction site still be a construction site at the end of the day. Both the public and the industry want to see their projects complete. The only setback though is that it will take a great of time for those contracts to find a new firm. There are even talks taking place to decide whether the government should take over some of the contracts too. The length of time that this will take is very difficult to predict. So in the meantime, it is best to look at alternative routes to seek out employment in the construction sector:


If you were working as an apprentice, it is not the end of the line for you. Many independent contractors who work on smaller domestic projects (i.e. house extensions, kitchens and bathrooms) are always looking for an extra support. Simply look through a directory, find a suitable domestic construction workers and then give them a call. You might be offered a paid trial day. And if the contractor really likes your end result and your work ethic, then you're in. According to a report on the BBC, the CITB have said that they will work closely with Carillion apprentices to ensure they're able to continue with their training.

Consider Working For Yourself

If you have been in the trade for a considerable amount time, then it might be time to become your own boss. It is nerve wracking working for yourself. There is no doubt about it. But if you have the contacts and the talent, then you have the possibility of earning more money than you would have done if you were employed by someone else. As mentioned previously, there are loads of small projects for home improvement out there. It is down to you to find them.

Gain New Skills

Adding new skills boosts your CV and improves career prospects. It is never too late to gain new skills and qualifications. If you already have your green CSCS labourer card, then why not consider going in to site supervision or site management by completing the SSSTS or SMSTS training course. These courses are a brilliant investment (they're valid for 5 years). And once the construction sector recovers, you have the right qualifications to proceed to the next step of your career. Featured image: Pexels