Month: December 2017

Plumbing Music Playlist: for Plumbers, Pipefitters & other Mechanical Jobs

Plumbing jobs appreciation

This week the heating has been on full in the office and we’ve been drinking lots of tea to keep warm and cosy. And these comforts have had us appreciating the work our Cardiff Plumbers, Pipefitters, Plumber’s Mates and Welders do to keep our homes and workplaces comfortable when the frosts arrive. That appreciation was compounded by some photos we received of the great work our guys have been doing on plumbing jobs in sites around Cardiff, Barry and Chepstow this week:



cardiff plumbers

Bayscape, Cardiff Bay

plumbers cardiff pipework

Plumbing work done by Peter and Ashley Davies at Woodlands Road, Barry








cardiff plumbers pipes

Paul Davies’ plumbing work at the new BBC Headquarters
























Plumbers playlist

So as a little nod to those that keep us warm over Winter we have themed our playlist for this week as a dedication to Plumbers, Pipefitters and all the other mechanical workers who do great work for us on site. This one took a little longer to put together than the Sparky’s playlist…apparently there aren’t so many songs about plumbing, pipework and gas installation as there are about electricity and light…surprising that.

The selection is also a bit eclectic to fit the theme…you don’t often find Katy Perry and The Prodigy in the same place rounded off with a Tom Jones classic! A week before the 25th we felt we had to put a little festive cheer in to round the playlist off though and no-one can do it better than Tom!  We hope you enjoy the musical roundup! And watch this space for more construction jobs themed music.

Are you a plumber looking for work from a company who appreciates the good work you do? Click here to sign up with Pier Consulting Ltd or get in touch using our contact details below:


Click here to listen to our playlist on Youtube or play the songs below.



Have a listen to our Electrician Oldies playlist

Songs for Sparks















With the snow falling outside it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In the Pier office the tree went straight up on the 1st December  and the 600-strong pile of Christmas cards is making its rounds to be signed. In fact, it’s felt pretty festive in the office since early November when the radio was permanently tuned into the Christmas channel.

Some of us may feel that the season to be jolly has gone on for far too long. There are only so many times you can listen to Mariah Carey telling you what she wants for Christmas before you have to take things into your own hands.

So we’ve put together some Construction-inspired compilations to change things up a bit from the endless festive cheer. Influenced by Simon Mayo’s Oldies songs on his Radio 2 Drivetime show we’ve had a bit of fun making industry-themed playlists. This week it’s ‘Songs for Sparks’, dedicated to our hardworking electricians, electrical mates and supervisors and to anyone else who works with wires, plugs and boards!

And we’re not biased; the other trades will be getting a look in with their own dedicated playlists coming soon.


If you’d rather listen to the tracks on our brand new YouTube channel then just click here:



DISCLAIMER: Opinions on Mariah Carey are the writers’ own and may not reflect the views of the office as a whole…



Construction apprenticeships and training: new schemes enough to plug the skills gap?

construction apprenticeship apprentice

Why is there a skills shortage?

The release of the Autumn Budget and an overhaul of construction apprenticeship and training programs has brought attention to the chronic skills shortage in the construction sector.  After the loss of an estimated 400,000 skilled workers in the financial recession the industry remains on a back foot. In the CITB’s latest report on Skills & Training they revealed that 20% of business said they had skills gaps in their existing workforce, up by 12% compared to the last report.





This shortage is only set to increase as Brexit looms and the industry depends on an ageing workforce.  Research published by the Office of National Statistics shows 24% of UK construction workers aged 45–54 are set to retire in the next 10-20 years. And this ageing workforce is not being replaced.


What is being done to plug the gap?

The Government has launched a number of initiatives in recent years to try and address this problem.

Construction apprenticeships, the traditional mainstay of skilled labour supply, have been given a boost. A new government target of 3 million new apprentices by 2020 has been announced.

£34 million has been earmarked solely for construction training. The Apprenticeship Levy came into force in May, estimated to raise £3bn a year so that employers can take ownership of training, with at least 90% of the funding being supplied for smaller employers.

Aside from the traditional apprentice route, other training methods are being developed.

The newly announced National Retraining Scheme aims to retrain adults for new professions. ‘T-levels’ will streamline 13,000 qualifications into 15 good quality technical qualifications to rival the existing A-levels.


How effective are these measures?

Recent DfE figures show that the number of apprenticeships fell by close to 60% in the quarter since the levy commenced. There has been widespread criticism of the scheme’s complicated framework. Many employers are facing challenges accessing the financial resources and are even delaying the start of apprenticeships, resulting in calls for reform. These teething issues could cause setbacks from the start to the 3m target.

The retraining scheme has also attracted criticism, with Liz Jenkins, partner at Clyde & Co commenting “Retraining adults as construction workers would provide some labour but once they retire we’ll be back to square one, unless we’ve trained a significant cohort of today’s young people to fill the gap.  This initiative needs to be coupled with effective management of the CITB reform and ensuring the money received from the levy is invested to ensure future generations of construction workers will be there to build post-Brexit Britain”

In the short term these measures are unlikely to provide an immediate solution. As we potentially lose our stretched workforce to retirement and Brexit in 2019, many training schemes may not begin until 2020 so it may be a case of too little too late. The next decade could be a difficult time for our sector if we cannot meet demand.

How do we future proof the industry?

Despite these issues, the renewed focus on construction apprenticeships and training is vital to the future of the industry.  The sector deal has been welcomed by associations that consider investment and training to be at a critical point. These are all positive steps towards securing a skilled and stable workforce.

The trailblazer apprenticeship schemes have been met with widespread industry approval. Partnering companies to create construction apprenticeships, they ensure the quality and relevance of training and ensure the right sectors are being developed. Similarly, the levy concept was built around the need for employers to take control of training to ensure that it is high-quality and relevant. It makes sense to supply the industry with the tools to deliver the apprenticeships and skills it sorely needs. Once awareness of the scheme and the application complications have been improved the levy will be a vital resource for the industry’s future.

In the long term the sector will need to embrace the digital revolution that will be a vital lifeline for the centennial generation workforce.  Innovations in materials, offsite modular construction, and BIM modelling to name a few could help attract a tech-savvy workforce.

The construction industry must work to develop an image away from the hard hat and the building site, embracing innovation, diversity and expertise if it wants a strong future.