For the third consecutive year, global property show MIPIM has welcomed a large and diverse delegation from Midlands UK, which included leaders from industry and the public sector. Our 2019 programme comprised more than 40 events, showcasing £11 billion of investment opportunities, and hosted lively debates about the future of the property and construction sector. 
Emerging new technologies and the implications for skills was frequently discussed by our panellists. With the emergence of 5G, virtual reality and visual design, what was once considered a traditional trade now requires a new approach to development and investment.  
Time again, conversations between our delegates at MIPIM highlighted the need to invest in apprenticeships, and develop the tech expertise of the construction industry to reduce its technical skills shortage. 
Meeting the rapidly growing demand for regeneration and development, particularly in the housing sector, is an issue facing both the region and the UK as a whole. In the West Midlands alone, we are aiming to develop an additional 215,000 new homes by 2030.
We need to find more economically viable ways of maximising development on brownfield land, accelerating modular design and development, and boosting knowledge in design, planning and other technical areas of construction. It became apparent during MIPIM that we must both capitalise on emerging skills, and support traditional methods in construction, to meet these challenges. 
The Midlands is seizing the opportunity to lead on developing construction skills on both a regional and national level to develop a world-renowned construction industry cluster. The University of Wolverhampton’s £100m Springfield Campus is a prime example of how this can be achieved. As well as housing the West Midlands Construction University Technical College, plans are underway place to create a national Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre – which will become a centre of market intelligence for brownfield regeneration and land remediation.
With industry and academia working together, I believe we will have a workforce that is equipped with the skills that industry needs, now and in the future, to successfully deliver the projects showcased at MIPIM 2019.