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The Skills Gap. The Urgent Global Need For A Larger Skilled Workforce To Decarbonise Its Commercial Buildings with Chris Oldham and Hannah Vickers


In the seventh episode of Season 11 of the Propcast, host Louisa Dickins is joined by Chris Oldham, Senior Policy and Programme Manager at City of London Corporation and Hannah Vickers, Chief of Staff at Mace.


Episode Highlights:

  • What the ‘Skills for Sustainable Skyline Taskforce’ is and the work they are doing
  • Why it is unusual to have a Chief of Staff role in the construction industry
  • The trends that Hannah has seen within the sector over the last few years
  • The workforce engagement campaign that Chris is helping to run to ensure they have the right people in key roles
  • Why we need a more joined up approach to engage schools when looking to bring the future workforce in
  • The misconceptions on what a career in the built environment is like
  • Creating a clearer path both into the industry and being able to retrain within the industry
  • The importance of addressing the skills gap
  • The current innovation trends within the sector




Shout outs:


Key Takeaways:

  • I began my career as a primary school teacher, which gave me a real interest in how we can best equip our young people for the careers of tomorrow. – Chris
  • We’re encouraging the existing workforce for the full project lifecycle of sustainable buildings to upskill, to reskill with those green skills that we’ve identified in the research, and also to attract a large cohort of diverse new entrants from untapped pools of talent, particularly looking at women, more young people, people from ethnic minority backgrounds into the build environment. – Chris
  • One of the first trends that I came across was how much our productivity improved during covid. – Hannah
  • We are the second highest paying sector in the UK. So if you think about people having lifelong careers and retraining, you could potentially retrain and come into construction, but still be as well paid or better paid than you might be in another sector. – Hannah
  • I think how we tap into those pools of talent, we need to look at developing a more flexible approach to work as well, which in practice is probably offering hybrid work. –Chris
  • We’re going to need people who can work to those requirements, who can understand what that means for the construction process. So if you like it’s not a hard sell. It’s a sort of requirement to be able to function as a business going forward. So that’s why for us, it’s so important. – Hannah


About our guests:

Hannah Vickers:

Hannah Vickers joined Mace Group in July 2021 as Chief of Staff. Hannah works directly with the Mace Executive Board to embed the company’s 2026 Business Strategy. In her role, she is driving growth, innovation and the company’s net zero carbon agenda. Hannah was also appointed as a non-executive director to Monmouthshire Housing Association in 2020, where she chairs the association’s Development Committee. Prior to Mace, Hannah served as Chief Executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), since 2018, where she led the creation and delivery of ACE’s ‘Future of Consultancy’ programme , reshaping the future of the built environment consultancy sector.



Mace is a global company of experts in shaping the built environment. It provides development, consulting, construction and operations services for many of the world’s most inspiring building and infrastructure projects and programmes – from Olympic parks and iconic skyscrapers to state-of-the-art data centres, schools, hospitals and homes. 

The privately-owned company, headquartered in London, UK, has an annual turnover of £1.9bn. Over 30 years, its growth has been fuelled by an adventurous spirit and the relentless pursuit of a better way. Today, the company employs over 7,000 people across five global hubs in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, the Americas, Sub Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific.

Mace is driven by its purpose to redefine the boundaries of ambition, and its vision of leading the way to a more connected, resilient and sustainable world.


Chris Oldham:

Chris Oldham is Senior Policy and Programme Manager at the City of London Corporation’s Skills Policy Team, and Project Lead for the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce. The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce aims to address green skills gaps across the full project lifecycle of sustainable commercial buildings in Central London boroughs.  

Previously, Chris has held various education and strategy roles at the City Corporation and at the Railway Industry Association. Prior to that, Chris was a Primary school Teacher and taught English as a Foreign Language. He is also an Army Reservist and volunteers as an Instructor with the Army Cadet Force to mentor young people in Bexleyheath.


City of London Corporation: 

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful  

Central London urgently needs a larger skilled workforce to decarbonise its commercial buildings. The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce will work at pace to identify and bridge skill gaps to ensure that Central London has a globally competitive sustainable commercial built environment which we need to retain our world leading financial and professional services sector. 

The Taskforce will be a three-year project led by the City of London Corporation to boost the supply of skilled workers for sustainable buildings. It will bring together employers, training providers and industry bodies from across the commercial built environment sector, as well as national and local government,


About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.



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