George Clarke In Bid To Revolutionise Housebuilding Industry

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TV presenter and architect George Clarke – perhaps best known for his Amazing Spaces show on Channel 4 – has taken it upon himself to revolutionise the housebuilding sector in the UK by attracting new generations to a career in the construction industry.

Teaming up with Teeside University, Clarke has launched a series of new courses through his Ministry of Building Innovation scheme, which he explains is about retraining, building and creating homes fit for the 21st century that improve the way that people live.

A number of courses in advanced home construction have been devised, beginning with an undergraduate degree programme, followed by a postgraduate degree course called MSc Advanced Home Futures.

“The slow and antiquated method of building new homes is painful and, fundamentally, we still build homes the way we did hundreds of years ago. Whilst technology corporations, telecommunication companies, the automotive and aerospace industry are advancing at incredible rates, the house building industry is stagnant and it’s genuinely time for systematic change.

“There is a need for exciting innovation, opportunities to push the boundaries of what we build and how we build that will attract bright new minds in to the industry,” Clarke said.

The university’s pro vice-chancellor Jane Turner made further comments, saying that students who graduate from these new courses will leave university with a unique set of skills and distinctive knowledge, which will in turn make them very sought after by companies in the industry.

And course leader professor Tim Thompson went on to note that the courses have been designed to ensure that students entering the world of work will be “ready to make a disruptive change to a traditional industry”.

The government has set itself a target of building one million new homes come the year 2020, but it has been widely reported that this goal will not be met. And now HuffPost UK has just analysed housebuilding in the UK going back over 100 years and has found that construction under the Conservatives has dropped to its lowest peacetime level since the 20s.

Figures from the House of Commons Library show that an average of 127,000 residential properties a year have been built across England and Wales since 2010, which is when the Tories took office. This is the lowest since Stanley Baldwin took up residence in Downing Street back in 1923, when 86,000 homes were built.

John Healey, Labour shadow housing secretary and who obtained the stats, was quoted as saying: “These humiliating figures show that ministers’ promises on housing since 2010 have been nothing more than empty words.

“Official statistics confirm that since 2010 not only have Conservative ministers built many fewer homes than the last Labour government, they’ve built fewer homes than any government, Labour or Conservative, since 1923.”

However, the latest Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI revealed a solid start to the second quarter of the year for construction companies, with faster hikes in residential building activity, which certainly seems promising.

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