Earlier this week, I was invited for a tour around AccXel in Cinderford in the Forest of Dean. AccXel is a state-of-the-art centre of excellence to inspire, train and connect people entering and advancing within the UK construction industry.

Developed by the industry for the industry, AccXel will accelerate learning and equip men and women with knowledge and practical experience of the latest technologies and advances in sustainability and digital construction.

It blew my mind and was absolutely amazing. I think you need to see some of the photographs which tell the story better than I can. It is such an energising space, and I felt a palpable sense of excitement.Pictures from around the AxxCel centrePictures from around the AxxCel centre

The brand colours were inspired by a sculpture at New Fancy View in the Forest of Dean made up of 3 elements stone, iron and coal. If you follow AccXel on social media here, you’ll see how fabulous their branding is and it is evident in the education centre and all communication.

In the Forest of Dean, we do a lot of work to educate current and potential residents, young and old, of the opportunities on our doorstep. Looking for a career path is daunting and overwhelming for any age group. Parents, teachers, colleagues and ex-colleagues are always asking what do you do and what would you like to do.

Of course, we all know that in most cases, careers are a series of random experiences and doing something you don’t like can often point you in the direction and motivate you towards things you do. There are also many HIDDEN roles, so when we think about the construction industry, we think about bricklayers and all the roles we can see on a construction site, but what about other roles that include design, planning and project management. Architects, interior designers, HR professionals, IT specialists, management accountants, and the list goes on and on.

Research by Adzuna shows that construction managers are in huge demand and pay well. Accxel will help upskill and reskill individuals who want to work in that role. There will be leadership training to upskill labourers into management roles.

Construction Manager

Average salary: £65,188

Construction managers came a close second with advertised salaries averaging £65,188. The role has increased in demand as the trade & construction sector has boomed over the last year, with 83,711 jobs advertised in November 2021, up 65% year-on-year. 457 of these positions were for construction managers. The role involves taking charge of building projects and ensuring they run to time and budget. Construction managers also oversee safety measures on site, looking out for the welfare of the wider building team. Some enter the job role through an apprenticeship. Others work their way up to the position after gaining experience as a construction site supervisor. You can find out more at The Chartered Institute of Building.

Congratulations to the team Accxel, you have bought this remarkable idea into real life, and it’s an excellent advertisement for powerful female leaders. Thank you, Nicola Bird and Natalie Bell and thank you, Lou Dawson, what an inspiration you are. I am looking forward to being involved.  


It has just been announced that AccXel has been named the number 1 female-led pioneering business in Gloucestershire by SoGlos – Gloucestershire’s leading media brand and Cheltenham Ladies’​ College.

 “Our brand-building efforts and success in our journey so far is attributed to the wonderful support we have had from local and national businesses, and we thank you for recognising our potential; this is just the beginning!”