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Sea Defences: Finding Skilled Labour in Hampshire

The management, repair and construction of sea defences are generally considered large undertakings, all of which require a mix of specialist skilled and semi-skilled labour who understand the challenges involved.


Skilled Labour Services is a Hampshire based recruitment agency that specializes in providing workers for medium and large construction companies involved in building and civil engineering projects in the South and South West of England.


Our sole focus is ground works and the civil engineering sector, including providing skilled operatives for work on sea defences. For major projects, such as sea defences, companies often find it challenging to fill places and get the operatives they are really looking for.


Skilled Labour Services have a growing track record of providing a specialist service working with some large, nationally known companies as well as others based in the Hampshire and South West of England.

Experience Counts When Hiring Skilled Labour


If you are a project manager who needs to hire temporary semi-skilled labour for work on sea defences, it can be difficult to find exactly the right people in enough numbers to get the job done. That includes finding operatives that have worked in this area before and understand the requirements and challenges.


Experience is important, of course, when it comes to choosing the right recruitment and employment agency to build a relationship with. Skilled Labour Services is run by Richard Allen who has been involved in a range of different sea defence projects over the last 25 years as well as other construction projects.


Having someone at the helm of a recruitment company who understands your needs is important.


As Richard explains, his background is one that involves a clear focus on sea defence projects:


My first big project was way back in 1997 when I was Site Engineer for Dean & Dyball Construction. I spent 6 months as their setting-out engineer, working on the construction of the Rock revetment, breakwater island and beach recharge for Hurst Spit, Milford on Sea. Rock was imported from Norway and brought in by barge, and the shingle pumped from half a mile or so offshore. It was a project that gave me a deep understanding of the challenges faced when constructing and repairing sea defences.


Richard had more experience over the next few years employed by Dean & Dyball, which included working on rock groynes at Lee on Solent and Lancing Beach. This lead to managing several large projects including building a new slipway for Worthing Lifeboat and building a jetty replacement in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.


After this, Richard moved to work in Highways until he created his own company, Skilled Labour Services in Hampshire, in 2011. Over the last 8 years, the company has provided operatives for a number of high profile sea defence construction projects in the region, working with some major companies.


According to Richard:

Contractors working on sea defence projects can be confident that when they require labour for their sea defence or marine projects, they are talking to a supplier that has bags of experience and are able to deliver the best and most suitable operatives local to the scheme.

Skilled Labour Services: A Track Record Providing Operatives for Sea Defence Projects


If you’re business which is undertaking a huge project such as repairing or constructing new sea defences, it’s important to have a strong supply chain of people to work on it. Large recruitment agencies can have their fingers in more than one pie which can dilute their focus. Sudden labour shortages can delay projects and add to the costs if you can’t find the right people when you need them.


At Skilled Labour Services, our entire focus is on providing operatives for major construction and civil engineering projects. That means your business will always be able to depend on getting the best staff for the job at hand, those who have worked on sea defence projects before or understand what is required from such work, whenever you require them.


One project that SLS supplied a number of skilled operatives for was the high profile local scheme at Medmerry in Sussex. This was a managed realignment that took place over a period of two years. Medmerry had an earth embankment that was constructed back in the 1960s but which was now being breached.


SLS worked with construction firm Mackley, providing a pipeline of suitable operatives as and when they were needed. This flexible approach meant that Mackley could contact SLS at any time and be sure of getting skilled labour sourced from the local area that were ready to go.


Over the years, Skilled Labour Services have also supplied operatives for several large scale Dean & Dyball schemes, including at Witterings, Lee on the Solent, and Bognor Regis. One of the more recent sea defence projects that SLS provided labour for was when working with construction company Knights Brown. This involved a large number of schemes around the island of Portsmouth, including Tipner Lake which is still under construction. SLS also provided skilled labour for other schemes at Hillhead.


According to Richard:

We like to think that SLS is more than just an agency. Our aim is to be responsive to the needs of our clients and provide the appropriate, experienced staff for any construction or civil engineering project. When it comes to sea defences, having access to a ready supply of experienced operatives means that a lot of the administrative burden is taken off our clients and they can then push on with their projects without being concerned how they add extra staff at some point because they need it.


As an island, of course, sea defences are vitally important to Great Britain as a whole. There are several high profile projects in process along the southern coast of England and all of them require skilled operatives to work on them.


If you are a civil engineering or construction company searching for a recruitment partner who understands sea defences and can deliver on your needs, contact Skilled Labour Services today.

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