At this year's CEA conference in London, a number of speakers highlighted the UK’s poor productivity, compared with countries such as Germany and the US.

Dick Elsy, CEO of government-backed apprentice scheme Catapult, explained to delegates that the UK was great at innovating but often lacked the dynamism to take those innovations to market.

He described Catapult’s remit to utilise high-quality research and development facilities, in tandem with the construction industry, to turn ideas into commercial applications.

Nick Boles, the UK’s Minister of State for Skills and Construction, and Stephen Spencer of GKN Land Systems, both discussed the industry’s need to promote and retain talent through new and innovative apprentice schemes.

In his global overview, Off-Highway’s David Phillips brought a stark focus to proceedings with worrying statistics on the slump in China’s construction industry. He also described the huge over-supply of construction machinery built up in China over the past five years.

Further speakers at the conference included: Sir Neville Simms of Tideway - the company tasked with delivering the Thames Tideway Tunnel; and Bill Quigley from HS2 - who spoke about the construction of phase one of the UK’s first high-speed rail link.

Mr Quigley, head of excavated and bulk materials on the HS2 project, described the scale of the construction work ahead, reporting that 636 articulated dump trucks and 372 excavators would be required when the work reached its peak.

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