Lego is just the startAttracting Students into Housebuilding Housebuilding in the UK is big business. Government targets implemented by a considerable shortage of housing means the industry needs to recruit in over 35k new roles each year from now until 2021 if we are to be able to keep up with demand. This figure was determined by the Construction Skills Network in their report published in February 2017. With such a massive void to fill attracting students into housebuilding is going to be vital, but how do we achieve this? Starting Young A joined-up approach is required from all those involved in the construction industry. We need to be starting at school level when children are beginning to think about their future career choices. There needs to be a promotion and introduction to the many varied roles available so that young people feel inspired to look further at how they could build a future in construction. This includes developed work experience programmes pushed out to local schools and consideration into apprenticeships in all aspects from the ground to the offices. Divergence of Knowledge One of the critical aspects picked up time and time again as a failing of information transference is the magnitude of roles available within the construction industry. It is vital that we find a way to showcase the industry so that young people, and indeed anyone seeking to retrain and find new challenges understands that we are not just talking about laying bricks with mortar. It is little wonder there is apathy in the younger generation for construction if this is what they believe to be the total of career options on offer. Work needs to be done to break down the gender bias and stereotyping, so we are attracting an even number of male and female candidates to the profession. Partnership Working In some areas, this has already been implemented successfully, but there is always scope for more. Barratt Developments, for instance, have a sponsored degree in Construction working closely with Sheffield Hallam University. These sorts of programs offer a sense of future job security as well as students having the invaluable opportunity to gain real-life experience as well as the essential classroom input. Postive Media Social media tends to be where it all happens. It is therefore critical that we embrace these platforms and use them to promote construction in a positive light. With so many opportunities waiting for recruits, getting the message out there will increase applications and uptake. A video is the preferred media, so we should be taking steps to create real-life insights into our current workforce, mainly where their role serves to highlight previously overlooked sectors and inspire new talent to ask more questions. Case studies featuring a day in the life of Chartered Surveyors, Legal teams and Admin staff are all as relevant as shots of hard hats and high visibility jackets. Thankfully there are lots of initiatives coming to the fore, including graduate trainee programs and armed forces integration. All of these are positive and proactive and should be encouraged. Selling construction as a big picture is the key to unlocking the interest of our young people when they start looking for new and exciting career paths.
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