It's not just about schools - with special events, awards and ambassadors - there are now more ways than ever for employers to reach the workforce of the future.
The construction industry will need to reach young people if it's to keep growing and hitting higher standards in the future. In a competitive jobs market, you’ll also have to get them interested in construction careers earlier. Some of the best ways of doing this are by getting involved in educational events and working with schools, colleges and universities.
Why get involved?
Getting involved with the next generation is a smart move for any business’s future. Not only will you encourage young people into construction but you’ll also have a head-start on getting the best, brightest and most motivated future employees.
It’s also a great chance to build goodwill in communities and make people aware of your projects. This can help with landing more contracts and meeting any community engagement requirements they might have.
Go Construct resources
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BAM Summer SchoolSt Albans
10 students from schools near BAM Construction’s St Albans office took part in BAM's summer school programme. Participants got the chance to gain "hands-on" experience in what it's like to work in the construction industry and earned a Bronze CREST Award in Sustainable Communities. This award focused on the planning, designing, creating and marketing of a sustainable development.
90% of participants said the Summer School had interested them in working in the construction industry and 100% of participants said they had enjoyed the Summer School. BAM has expressed an interest in running the program in future years, and hopes it will inspire students to pursue a sustainable construction related career.
How to start
There’s no shortage of ways to get involved with education. We’ve listed some of the most direct ways here.
Schools, colleges and universities
You can build your own links in communities by contacting schools, colleges or universities directly. They can help put you in touch with potential trainees and apprentices - many will also appreciate your support with work experience.
Remember that they can have very different ways of working to the construction industry and you may find it hard to reach the right people when you need to. Skills Development Scotland, and Careers Wales run a network of advisers who can help you with this.
Apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience
These are the more traditional ways for companies to get involved with education but are you getting all you can from them? It’s worth visiting our Work Experience for Employers page for more on the journey from work experience to apprenticeship.
Construction Youth Trust
This charity is involved with everything from mentoring budding builders to arranging site visits and training programmes. They do all of this in partnership with companies like yours and always need more supporters. You can find out more here.
The Skills Show
Events like The Skills Show give your company a rare chance to speak straight to young people about what you do. Someone from your company could also take part in its Have A Go experience where students get to go hands-on with anything from bricklaying to machine operating.
The CREST Awards
The CREST Awards give 11 to 19 year olds the chance to learn more about science, technology, engineering and maths projects. You may be able to become a supporter of the awards or get involved in new award programmes. See the site for more details.
Made In Sheffield
This ambassador programme in Sheffield brings together students with major construction employers in the area. Read more about their story.
Design, Engineer, Construct!®
Design Engineer Construct!® provides a platform for industry to take the lead in bridging professional skills gaps and inspiring thousands of children to “think like Engineers” by supporting secondary schools in their area. This unique learning programme offers all organisation the chance to directly contribute relevance and context to learning in schools. It leads to recognised qualifications, resulting in a ‘home grown’ talent pipe of work ready, knowledgeable young professionals. You can find out more here.
Site visits let students look behind closed doors and see how construction really works. They’re easy to arrange too and should be covered by your usual insurance and health and safety regulations. The Open Doors Weekend is an annual event and is a good place to start if you’re interested in running visits.
Having ambassadors for your business is a straightforward way of getting children and young people interested in construction. Ambassadors can speak about the industry, what they do and how they got started. Best of all, they can answer questions right there and then.
If you, a colleague or employee would like to be an Ambassador, visit our Construction Ambassador pages.
STEM and CITB's Disaster Relief Challenge DayVarious locations
Students from five local schools in the Greenwich area attended a day organised by the School Improvement Advisers for the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This day was aimed to show students the range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers that may be available to them. On hand were ambassadors from the industries of astronomy, construction and the Ministry of Defence. A proud supporter of this day was Wates Construction; a family owned and run construction business with a 118 year history in the industry.
Students who attended were given talks about how to get involved in the industry, and participated in a construction workshop later on. The challenge was for teams to create a structure made from rolled up paper tubes and try to hold as much weight as possible. It was a close run contest, but the winning team’s structure held the same weight using less materials. Overall, 72% of students who participated in the workshop said that they found it fun and exciting, and 87% of students who attended the entire day said that it had been inspiring for them to see what possible STEM careers could be available to them.
Wates also collaborated with CITB’s Disaster Relief Challenge day, where two teams were set the challenge of constructing a rig and pulley system that would be able to transport medical supplies over a divide. Wates provided a construction ambassador who was on hand to offer guidance, but also to ensure that safe working practices were observed at all times. The students had a great time taking part in this challenge, and enjoyed the problem solving and strategy elements that came with it, demonstrating key skills that are crucial for a career in construction.