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Publication date:- 2017-21-10

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 2.

Students show talent for construction in Gleeds challenge

STUDENTS from Holly Lodge Girls College in Liverpool got the chance to see what life in the construction industry is really like when a team from the building consultancy responsible for the Olympic Stadium, Pinewood film studios and Daytona Speedway joined them in the classroom this week.

Property and construction consultancy Gleeds, teamed up with educational charity The Transformation Trust, to organise a curriculum aligned challenge which saw 63 students aged 11 to 14 take part in a specially devised workshop. The participants were split into groups of five and spent the day planning every aspect of a hypothetical construction project at Windsor Castle.

The initiative has been mirrored in Secondary Schools across the country as part of the business' annual Global Challenge volunteering event. In 2017, staff from across its 68 offices, worldwide, will be donating a total of 7500 hours; the equivalent of over 3 working years; of their time in a bid to inspire the next generation of construction professionals.

The best entries from the 64 UK workshops will now be put forward into a national final, with winners selected by a top panel including:- Gleeds Chairman, Richard Steer and Partner at Make Architects, Ken Shuttleworth, with the successful team winning a tour around Windsor Castle.

Lord Andrew Stunell, the peer heading up a review of challenges faced by the construction industry post Brexit, has lent his support to the programme, saying:- "To meet the current skills shortage the UK construction sector must recruit 1 person every 77 2nds until the year 2021. If we are even going to come close to that we first need to engage with young people and I think this is a really fantastic way of showing off everything construction has to offer."

Chris Seddon, director of Gleeds in Liverpool went on to say:- "Our industry is facing a huge challenge in terms of recruiting new staff and it is up to us to try and change the misinformed perceptions, encouraging the next generation to take up Careers in our industry. Having seen the imagination, creativity and raw talent on display during our workshop I am confident that this year's Global Challenge can inspire students everywhere to look at construction in a new light."

Cost of childcare has risen more than 4 times faster than wages in North West

THE cost of childcare for young children has risen 4.3 times faster than wages in the North West since 2008, according to new analysis published by the TUC. The analysis reveals that in the North West the average wages of those with a 1 year old child rose by 11% in cash terms; although pay is still falling in real terms; between 2008 and 2016. However, over the same period, childcare costs shot up by 47%. London; where childcare has risen 7.4 times more quickly than pay; has seen the biggest increase in childcare costs compared to wages, followed by the East Midlands (7 times), and the West Midlands (4.8 times). The average increase across England is 4 times. While there is Government support for childcare for children aged 2 and older, most working parents with 1 year olds do not get any state help with childcare costs. And as around 950,000 working parents across the UK have a child aged 1, these rising costs have huge implications for family budgets, warns the TUC, as parents are spending an increasing portion of their pay on childcare.

In the North West:-

A single parent working full time, with a 1 year old in Nursery for 21 hours a week (21 hours is the median amount of childcare used per week for Pre-School age children) spent 23% of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from 15% in 2008.

1 parent working full time and 1 parent working part time, with a 1 year old in Nursery for 21 hours a week, spent 15% of their salary on childcare in 2016, up from 10% in 2008.

1 parents working full time with a 1 year old, in Nursery for 21 hours a week, spent 12% of their wages, on childcare in 2016, up from 7% in 2008.

The analysis also shows pressure is even greater on parents working full time, especially single parents. A single mum or dad in the North West with a young child in Nursery for 40 hours a week would need to spend 45% of their pay on childcare; showing how difficult it is to balance work and family life without working fewer hours or getting support from friends and family.

TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:- "The cost of childcare is spiralling, but wages aren't keeping pace. Parents are spending more and more of their salaries on childcare, and the picture is even worse for single parents. Nearly a million working parents with 1 year old kids have eye watering childcare bills. There is a real gap in childcare support for 1 year olds until Government assistance kicks in at age 2.  Parents need subsidised, affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to continue working, and so mums don't continue to have to make that choice between having a family and a career."

To address this increasing pressure on working families, the TUC would like to see:-

Universal free childcare from the end of maternity leave. This would help single parents and families; especially younger mums and dads with less seniority and lower pay; to stay in work and progress their Careers after having children.

More Government funding for local authorities to provide Nurseries and child care.

A greater role for employers in funding childcare. Either through direct subsidy to employees or the provision of on site childcare facilities.

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