Guernsey Press

Building industry warns deputies about education ‘crisis point’

Guernsey’s construction industry has written a strongly-worded letter to all States deputies warning them that post-16 education in Guernsey is approaching ‘crisis point’.

The Les Ozouets campus and Education's plans will be the subject of more debate at the States this week. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32740067)

Deputies are due to continue debating how to fund a £130m. transformation of secondary education in the States meeting today. The letter from the Guernsey Building Trades Employers Association is endorsed by the Guernsey Construction Forum and the Confederation of Guernsey Industry.

In the letter association president Steve Roussel pleaded with deputies to put aside personality politics and work together.

‘We have said it before and say it again, as a community we should be ashamed that we have let the education strategy and facilities of our island get to the state they are in today,’ he wrote.

‘Your failure to approve and fund the education strategy only serves to perpetuate and worsen this situation.’

He said that only way to reverse this trajectory was to urgently progress the education capital project.

‘Not in a year or two, not after another review, not after yet more postponements. It will take years to repair the damage already done we must not delay any further.’

Mr Roussel said that he was aware that islanders may think the construction industry had a vested interest in the project going ahead due to the amount of construction work involved.

‘But we cover a wide range of business, many of who won’t benefit at all,’ he said.

‘This is feedback from across our members, especially regarding apprenticeships. Right across the industry we have members complaining that we still need to train a workforce for the building industry.’

A separate statement from the forum reiterated that despite some reports, including past comments from deputies, there would be no issues with the capacity of the local construction industry to successfully manage both the Les Ozouets Campus and the PE2 hospital extension.

Chairman John Bampkin said the forum was very concerned that this reasoning was being used by some to block the go-ahead on these two infrastructure projects.

The GCF committee, which is made up of architects, surveyors, specialist consultants, major contractors, major sub-contractors and project managers, said that it wanted to state on the record that there would be 'no issues with the capacity of the local industry to successfully manage this situation.’

He said that this was largely due to the campus project being ready to begin, while Phase 2 at the hospital still required 12 to 18 months of planning.

Mr Bampkin added that while it was true currently only Rihoys had the capacity to build the Les Ozouets campus this situation was due to change.

‘Breton are reinventing themselves and Ravenscroft are involved at La Grande Mare, but then will be back on the scene,’ he said.

‘We also have Kalmac, who are bigger in Jersey but now investing here.'