EIGHT thousand construction jobs are set to be created in the South East in the next five years, according to new research released today by CITB.

Fuelled by demand for 245,000 new homes across the UK each year, CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecast shows that average output for private housing in the South East will grow 5.7 per cent annually to 2018. Along with infrastructure, at 3.9 per cent, housing is the chief driver of growth for the region.

Between now and 2018, the South East as a whole will see average annual output grow 2.9 per cet, ahead of the national average of 2.2 per cent.

With 1,600 new employees required each year to fulfil planned projects, the region’s construction workforce will hit 379,490 in 2018.

However, output and employment will still be down on pre-recession levels and caution is being urged amid signs of a recovery.

Janette Welton-Pai, sector strategy manager for CITB in the South East, said: “The CSN report shows that the economy is turning the corner and the South East’s construction industry will benefit from that.

“The Government’s Help-to-Buy scheme has kick-started demand across the housing market and new infrastructure projects in the South East will help create jobs.

“However, growth needs to be sustainable – underpinned by long-term infrastructure projects and continued investment.

“It’s clarity and certainty of future projects that give employers the confidence to train and plan.

“We’d therefore welcome any new announcements on homebuilding projects in the area, and encourage employers to be ready for the opportunities coming to the region.”

For more information on the CSN and to read the full South East report, visit www.citb.co.uk.

CITB is the Industrial Training Board (ITB) for the construction industry in Great Britain.