Attracting, developing and valuing our people

One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is attracting enough talented people into the workforce, from diverse backgrounds, to support the sector as the anticipated increase in workload materialises. For those already in the industry we need to support their development and value their health, safety and wellbeing.

Attracting People

Despite this being such a rewarding industry we still face a significant challenge in attracting enough talented people into the workforce, from diverse backgrounds, to support the sector. We recognise this and have a number of initiatives underway to support members.

We are working with a range of industry partners and stakeholders to develop clear career pathways and accredited apprenticeships for new entrants. Whilst there remains some way to go our aim is to provide a consistent route for site based contractors which will help us attract recruits, and persuade parents and teachers of the value of a career in civil engineering.

We’ve worked tirelessly with Qualifications Wales and other partners to make sure the new “built environment” qualifications for schools are fit for purpose and reflect the civil engineering sector. We’re getting close to seeing young people studying for GCSE’s and A-levels in this sector along with the eagerly awaited foundation apprenticeship. You can find out more about these qualifications by visiting the Qualifications Wales website :

And we’ve been working with partners to develop resources to support schools and colleges in Wales as part of your “social value” offerings. Take a look at CITB’s GoConstruct website to see what’s available :

Valuing our workforce

Throughout the pandemic we worked with governments, clients and our industry partners to ensure that businesses could deliver safe and socially distanced work places for their workforce.

When lockdown first struck in March 2020 we held :

  • Daily bulletins on emerging issues – over 100 bulletins issued
  • Daily conversations with members to understand their concerns and respond to their needs (all members spoken to at least once a month during lockdown, often more regularly);
  • Daily meetings with CECA colleagues across the UK to understand wider UK implications, support mechanisms and good practices – over 100 meetings
  • Weekly engagement with governments in Wales and Westminster to understand business support packages such as furlough and resilience grants;
  • Specific meetings with clients (eg trunk road agents, local authorities etc) to build up confidence, share supply chain intelligence, develop short term work programs and “get things moving again”;
  • A “key clients” group to share communications and pick up any supply chain concerns;
  • Weekly meetings with Welsh Government officers and Members of the Senedd on “essential worker” status for the infrastructure sector and advise on “safe worker” legislation;
  • Weekly engagement with other partners and stakeholders eg WCFA and WIA to maintain an unified response to the crisis.

And we issued over 500 social media releases, press releases and articles to maintain the profile of the sector during this difficult period.

CECA Wales Foundation Group

We’ve increased our engagement with younger members through social media and events. We’ve established a CECA Wales Foundations Group for younger members to increase their personal development by working on industry specific projects, engaging with the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales to help shape future infrastructure needs and supporting the CECA Wales Executive Board with a place for the Chair of the Foundations Group on the Executive Board.

CECA Wales Awards Dinner 2019
Cardiff Hilton
CECA Wales Awards Dinner 2019 : Mike McAndrew, Chair

Our Annual Awards evening continues to recognise our greatest asset which is our people. Each year we celebrate the achievements of those working in our industry and our CECA Wales Executive Board has resolved to reward the highest performers in our industry in five categories :

  • Most promising Apprentice
  • Most promising Trainee Civil Engineer –Technician (non-Graduate)
  • Most promising Trainee Civil Engineer –Graduate
  • Most promising Trainee Quantity Surveyor
  • Contribution to the Industry

The pandemic forced us to move our 2020 CECA Wales Annual Awards onto social media and you can read more about the winners via this link

We hope to host our 2021 Annual Awards at our Annual Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Cardiff on Friday 22nd October 2021 (subject to Covid restrictions).

CECA Wales Leadership Challenge 2021

CECA Wales Leadership Challenge 2019 Group photo

Applicants to the Awards are also invited to participate in the CECA Wales Leadership Challenge which is a 2-day leadership and teamworking challenge which is held in partnership with the Armed Forces. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, unfortunately, but we’re hoping to host the 2021 Challenge on 18th and 19th November 2021 at Cwrt y Gollen Training Camp near Crickhowell. You can read more via this blog

Leadership Challenge 2019

In conjunction with the Institution of Civil Engineers Wales Cymru and Constructing Excellence in Wales award winners, the CECA Wales award winners are also invited to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in December for the Construction Industry in Wales Award Winners’ Reception hosted by a Minister of the Welsh Government. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do this again in 2021!

Developing People

For those who are attracted to the sector or for those already part of the workforce it is essential that we provide high quality training and development opportunities to maintain and grow their competency to deliver a 21st Century service for customers. We have developed a training and development programme for our members which focuses on contractual skills, predominantly the NEC form of contract, new Welsh-specific legislation, such as the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, the Environment Act and the Planning (Wales) Act, mock trial experiences, softer skills such as communications and political awareness.

CECA Wales Leadership Challenge 2021 : Future Leaders
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So after a Covid-enforced postponement of our 2020 Leadership Challenge it was great to get back to Cwrt y Gollen Army Training Barracks with the Army in Wales and put our “new recruits” through their paces! We know that strong leadership is critical to any organisation and this is especially evident in the infrastructure sector.

CECA Wales Annual Awards and Dinner 2021
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We hosted the CECA Wales Annual Dinner and Awards at the Hilton Hotel, Cardiff on 22nd October 2021. Our last event was in 2019 but because of the pandemic our 2020 event was cancelled. So this year’s event was eagerly awaited and didn’t disappoint. It was great to see old friends and colleagues again and