To make the most of young people’s talents they need to understand the different options and paths available to them. They should be inspired by new opportunities they might not have known about, and understand how their knowledge and skills can be used in the workplace.
This is why the emphasis of the government's newly-launched careers strategy on employer engagement is a welcome step in opening up the world of work. The whole industry understands the importance of good careers advice to create a pipeline of talent. While construction may still face some out-dated stereotypes, change is afoot.
The changing nature of the sector
CITB research shows the way our sector is viewed has started to shift, with welcome improvements in perceptions among young people and those that advise them. More than a quarter (28%) of young people involved in our report on careers in construction rated the industry in the top band for attractiveness in 2017, an increase from 13% in 2016. This is due in part to the changing nature of the sector, but also because of the joined up approach showcasing the industry.
The developing digitalisation of construction and new ways of learning using virtual reality, highlighted in our immersive learning report, will help employers to recruit from a deeper and wider talent pool. However, we need to work hard to get these messages across if we are to harness the creativity and talent available in the digital-ready generation.
Seven meaningful encounters
We welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that students will have seven meaningful encounters with the world of work. Construction skills are essential to the Government’s Industrial Strategy to maximise productivity and to create new and well-paid jobs. It's vital young people considering a career in construction get a real taste of working life and learn that construction can offer rewarding and fulfilling careers.
From the Go Construct website, a CITB-funded initiative showcasing the many careers that construction has to offer, to Open Doors, which provides access to sites across the country; the construction industry is already playing a crucial role in providing real life experience of the sector.
Ensuring that students have the opportunity to talk to providers of Technical Education will allow them to learn about opportunities available before making the fundamental choices which will influence their future. For the careers strategy to truly be successful, schools, industry and LEPs must collaborate to ensure their strategies inspire students with a variety of experiences of the world of work.
CITB will continue to work with Government and industry to showcase the changing nature of construction careers to students and give the best possible advice about the career path that they should take - one that makes the most of their talents.
About the author
Steve Radley is Policy Director at CITB.