The construction industry offers a wide range of careers to youngsters whether they are of an academic inclination or of a more practical, hands on bent. However, it seems that so many schoolchildren today are not aware of all the different roles within the industry, especially youngsters who have no contact with anybody working in the sector. Building magazine has been working in collaboration with the Construction Youth Trust in a bid to rectify the situation with an initiative dubbed #ExperienceConstruction.
With experts warning that the prospect of Brexit could intensify the UK construction sector’s existing skills shortage, all of us in the construction industry need to pull together to help raise the profile of the industry as a career option for youngsters across Britain. Construction Youth Trust is calling for employers to partner with the organisation to offer work experience placements to pupils aged 16+ and support the next generation of workers to enter the workplace.
Construction Youth Trust is a charity, established in 1961 by members of the construction industry and other relevant professions to provide educational centres to teach construction skills. The charity aims to inspire and enable young people to overcome the barriers faced and choose a career in construction. The organisation works with more than 4,000 young people annually, many of whom come from challenging backgrounds or are just unaware of the opportunities available to them. For the first 40 years, Construction Youth Trust provided grants and bursaries but since the turn of the century it has changed the way in which it operates to directly delivering a wide range of educational and employment programmes.
The patron of Construction Youth Trust is the Duke of Gloucester who trained and practised as an architect until the death of his elder brother resulted in him having to take on more family obligations and royal duties. His building background combined with charitable interests which benefit young people, the Duke takes a keen interest in the work of the Trust and is often seen visiting their projects. He’s also lent his name to the Trust’s Duke of Gloucester Young Achiever’s Scheme Awards. The Duke is also the Royal Patron of the UK branch of Habitat for Humanity, an international non-profit organisation devoted to building “simple, decent and affordable housing” – an aim that will resonate with many of us in the construction sector.
If you’re an employer in the construction industry, why not think about offering work placements to youngsters through the #ExperienceConstruction initiative? Creating work experience opportunities will enable you to play your part in helping school leavers to make an informed choice about their future and give them some practical, hands-on experience of just what it’s like to work in the sector. Young people who take part in work experience with a particular sector are more likely to remain in that field and we need as many new workers as we can get in the industry right now. This is your company’s opportunity to play a vital part in addressing the skills shortage that the UK construction industry faces right now. Next week, we’ll take a look at how offering a work experience placement could benefit your business.