23 June 2023 | Our Work | Skills

Skills debate to take place at Innovation Festival

Developing new skills and innovation in highways will be discussed by an expert panel of speakers at this year’s LCRIG Innovation Festival.

The Innovation Festival, which is taking place at Newark Showground from 4th to 5th July, is an event where products, solutions, new innovations and techniques are displayed and demonstrated over a range of live demonstration sessions. The event provides local authorities with a chance to find out about new innovations from the supply chain that will help to meet their current and future challenges.

An accompanying conference, which takes place across the morning of both days, will offer delegates the opportunity to hear about skills, emerging technology, maintenance solutions and the latest innovations.

Day two of the event will kick off with a session entitled ‘Skills factor: developing new skills and innovation in highways’. LCRIG’s Finance and Operations Director Kerry Winstanley will chair the session and is set to be joined by a number of younger highways professionals including Jake Rankin, Design Engineer, Dorset Council; Harry Jezzard, Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice, West Sussex CC; and Charlie Dunkerley, Apprentice Engineer, East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Alan Milne, Director of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement at Salford City College Group, completes the lineup and will offer an insight into the collaborative partnership that has been formed between Salford City College, Salford City Council, and the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) which will see Salford City College offer new Highways Maintenance Apprenticeships. There are 10 places available on the apprenticeship course which has been tailored to meet the specific requirements of a Highways Operative working on the local road network and more information can be found here.

During the debate panellists will cover off a range of topics including:

  • What attracted them to come into the highways sector?
  • What more needs to be done to attract a younger and more diverse workforce into the industry?
  • How big a role can net zero play in ensuring that we create a future generation of highway engineers?

LCRIG’s Finance and Operations Director Kerry Winstanley said: “The skills shortage in the industry is a huge challenge for our members. By putting on this important session we will be shining a light on some of the younger operatives who represent the future of the highways industry. It is vitally important that we hear the thoughts and views of these professionals to help gain an understanding of what needs to be done to attract a younger and more diverse workforce into the industry.

”At LCRIG, this is something that we take incredibly seriously and through our work with Salford City College and Salford City Council we want to share the learning from our apprenticeship initiative. Our hope is that this can eventually be replicated in other regions and that we can support the highways sector in attracting and developing skilled operatives.”

To find out more about the apprenticeship programme and express your interest in getting involved please contact Kerry Winstanley at [email protected]

View the Innovation Festival event agenda here.