Last week we took a look at the Construction Youth Trust’s latest initiative, #ExperienceConstruction which is aimed at promoting work experience within the construction industry in the hope that more building companies will offer one week placements to youngsters who want to see what it’s like to work within our sector. Due to the burgeoning skills shortage face by the UK construction sector, something quite radical needs to be done to attract young people and school leavers to the industry and encouraging youngsters to think about a career in construction is a logical move. However, it’s up to the industry as a whole to get behind this initiative and make it work and it’s in all of our interests to do so as we need to ensure that we have an army of future construction workers if we’re to keep up with demand for housing, infrastructure and other building and engineering projects. Today we’re going to take a look at how offering work experience to youngsters can benefit construction companies here in the UK.
So many youngsters complete their GCSEs without any real idea of what they want to do as a career and giving them the opportunity to undertake some work experience can help them to make up their minds. Creating work experience opportunities in your company means that you will give young people some valuable insights into the industry. This could be a crucial stepping stone for them when they need it the most and having some hands on experience means that they are more likely to be ready to take their place on the workforce when the time comes. Just take a look at the benefits to your company of taking on a work experience youngster:
Having a young person on the team will boost morale with the rest of your employees – they’ll develop supervisory skills as they mentor the youngster which will raise self-esteem and make them feel more valued. Asking staff to supervise students or school leavers is a great way of keeping them engaged and showing off any leadership qualities they have – some of them may just surprise you!
It’s free! There is no legal requirement for you to pay the work experience candidate – they are there for a few days only to learn from you. However, some employers do like to help out with travel expenses or lunches.
Good branding for your company – this is especially so if you take the time to create an organised programme of work that is genuinely beneficial to the youngster. Word will get round and you’re likely to have more young people applying to do work experience with your company. Your company will gain a reputation for investing in young people and get recommended as a good firm to work for.
Offering work experience is an effective recruitment strategy – if the youngster looks like being a great potential employee, you can offer them a permanent role, part time job or apprenticeship while they finish their education. If you don’t have a recruitment budget, work experience is a great way of finding new talent. Young people have not picked up habits from working at other jobs so offering you work experience student a permanent job is a great opportunity to mould the person into the type of employee you need – and it avoids the cost of bringing in more experienced, skilled professionals.
Last, but not least, offering work experience benefits the industry as a whole. As we’ve already mentioned, we have a serious skills shortage in the UK construction sector and the only way to rectify this is to attract more youngsters. What better way to do that than by giving them taster sessions of what it’s like to work in construction?