Skills and competencies are driving UK business growth

Martyn Lucas and Amy Sheldrake, with the Carapace Slate modular 'factory in a box' production process that can be taken on-site

Reflections on transforming construction’s journey to harness the value of our people and their skills in an innovative, ever adapting world.

The key driver for Innovate UK is business growth, and we cannot grow businesses without prioritising the workforce and their ability to carry out future jobs.

At Innovate UK, we know that job roles, skills and capabilities are changing and adapting as innovations grow and develop. It is part of our job to ensure that people, businesses and organisations are ready for the innovation and can take advantage of new and emerging technologies.


Joining Innovate UK from the Construction Industry Training Board, I was passionate about ensuring skills and competencies were considered as part of our work with industry.

I specialise in future skills and innovation. On joining the transforming construction challenge (TCC) I was keen to embed a strategic skills approach that challenged investments to consider skills and competencies.

I wanted our businesses to know this was a priority for us, and we could therefore help projects that had a focus on people, skills, and competencies.


I set up a strategic skills group, with representatives from our partners:

  • the Construction Innovation Hub,
  • Active Building Centre, and
  • Network Plus.

Alongside colleagues across clean growth and infrastructure, given the importance of skills for a net zero built environment. I chair this group which meets every six weeks, developing a virtuous circle in which representatives present challenges, barriers and opportunities emanating from our investments.

Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy Living Lab team sharing progress

Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) Living Lab team sharing progress. (Image courtesy of TIES Living Lab)

For example, one of our participants, Hadley Group, built a prototype house using modern methods of construction. They were working with charity Spacious Places to upskill people in building homes offsite. I had discussed this with the skills group and Hadley, as they were looking for more opportunities to upskill and develop their prototype.

I established how we could share this knowledge, introducing Hadley to the CEO of Constructionarium, who have the land and training courses to incorporate Hadley’s approach.


I invite guests to our skills group so we can learn more about the skills landscape, feeding knowledge back into construction. The High Value Manufacturing Catapult presented their skills value chain and foresighting report to us, which the Construction Innovation Hub went on to use in Value Toolkit training.

STELLAR’s modular home building approach

STELLAR’s modular home building approach. (Image courtesy of Totally Modular)

Many participants from TCC presented to the group, such as Totally Modular on their Sector Based Work Academy programme. They were seeking insight and support on connecting the programme with further education colleges.

Another of our businesses we supported has since won a West of England Combined Authority bid to improve skills to adapt to modern building methods, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Greater value on skills

Increasing the prominence and placing greater value on skills within transforming construction has helped companies apply for and win:

  • further grants
  • contracts
  • tenders.

These bring opportunities to upskill industry and help construction companies plan for exciting changes with their people, as well as with their technology.


The testimonials from Landsec, Knowle West Media Centre and Quadrant Construction are great examples of this.


We have created an internal Future of Development Group to look at how we will need to change as a business to work with a transformed construction industry.

Knowle West Media Centre

Training programme developed and delivered for staff and research and development participants, all trained in digital design, fabrication, and assembly methods.

Quadrant Construction

Digital skills are being developed within the delivery team and wider stakeholder groups who typically do not engage with this type of interactive software and technology everyday.

Learn more about Innovate UK’s commitment to talent and skills in the Innovate UK plan for action.

Other articles from Hannah:

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Top image:  Martyn Lucas and Amy Sheldrake, with the Carapace Slate modular 'factory in a box' production process that can be taken on-site. (Image courtesy of Carapace Slate)

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