Helping people into work

The benefits of work placements 

Kier were awarded National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) status in January 2014. They run a programme-based scheme which covers the rural areas of Devon and Cornwall. Over its three year duration, the programme will include £150m of projects.

The challenge

It is easy for people who have been out of work (even for a short time) to feel out of touch with the workplace. They can lose their self confidence and their enthusiasm for work and see getting a job as an unachievable milestone. This is even more true when they have to consider a job in a new role or industry. Work placements can give them a taster of a particular job or experience of working in a particular industry for the first time and help them feel positive about work.

The response

Kier have developed a working relationship with Job Centre Plus (JCP) offices in Devon and Cornwall, offering 10 day work placements to unemployed people. 

Everyone who works on a Kier site has to hold a valid CSCS card. This can be a problem as JCP have stopped funding CSCS cards for their customers. There are, however, ways around this such as using groups like Working Links or the Work Skills Training Academy who can still fund the cards. 

Candidates are asked if they would like to participate in a work placement, rather than them being forced to. They are also interviewed by JCP to assess whether  they understand the potential benefits of the placement. This is important as a work placement programme is only viable if the majority of candidates are reliable and attentive. Kier wouldn’t be able to count on the support of our site managers and subcontractors if this wasn’t the case.

The results

Over the last two years, Kier has had over 80 pre-employment work placements on their sites in Devon and Cornwall. Out of these 80 people, 75/74 completed their placements and  nearly 20 were offered work before the placement completed. 

Overall, work placements are a success. Even if no job is immediately available, just taking part in the placement can give a confidence boost and remotivate individuals to look for a job.

Transferable solutions

The image of working in the UK construction industry is poor, even though work conditions have improved tremendously in recent years. A work placement can help promote the industry by giving people a snapshot view of life working on a modern site. Construction companies need to actively play a part in encouraging people to work within the industry and providing work placement opportunities does this. 

"Work placements are so important in helping people back to work. They remotivate and boost peoples self confidence as well as create job opportunities."

Olivia Shillabeer

Employer Advisor

Newton Abbot Job Centre Plus

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