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Young people say construction among top job choices

08 May 2024

  • Survey of 100,000 young people shows construction in top five career choices.
  • 97% of construction companies say working with schools and colleges helping develop new talent pipelines.
  • 91% say it’s boosting job and apprenticeship recruitment. 87% say it’s helping close skills gaps.
  • Many are using The ţƵ & Enterprise Company’s new Employer Standards to get involved and get results.

Young people say jobs in construction are among their top five career choices, as a result of companies in the sector working in schools and colleges to help develop skills and showcase routes into the industry like apprenticeships.

A survey of 100,000 young people by the ţƵ & Enterprise Company (CEC), the national body for careers education, shows that by the time students are doing their GCSEs (Year 11), construction is one of the top job choices, along with creative and media, healthcare, business and finance and engineering.

This contrasts with when they start secondary school (Year 7) when sports, creative, working with animals and beauty are their favourite career paths, highlighting the influence companies can have in sparking interest in their sector through working with schools and colleges.

The findings come as the latest from Build UK and CITB shows the construction sector needs to recruit nearly 50,000 new entrants each year to maintain output.

This at a time when both the Government and Labour Opposition are emphasising the need for a significant step-up in house building to meet housing needs and generate economic growth.

Leading construction companies like Mace, Thakeham, Wilmott Dixon, Morgan Sindall and Wates are now active in the education sector, working with young people to develop the skills the industry is looking for and signpost career pathways.

Many firms are using the CEC’s Employer Standards to guide and get the most impact from their work in schools.  The tool also allows to them to compare their outreach efforts to others in their sector and beyond.

Further research among the business community by CEC shows more than nine in ten construction companies (97%) say working with schools and colleges is helping develop new talent pipelines and encouraging young people to take up careers in their sector.

More than four in five (87%) say it’s helping close skills gaps, with 91 per cent saying it’s boosting recruitment for jobs and apprenticeship roles. Eighty-four per sent say it’s helping improve the diversity of their workforce.

The survey also highlights wider business benefits from the work construction companies are doing with young people in education:

  • 78% say young people’s essential skills are improving.
  • 87% say young people are now more career ready.
  • 78% say it’s improving their early career recruitment and nearly half (49%) say it’s reducing recruitment costs.

Rita Patel Miller, Associate Director of Sustainability at Mace Group says:

“ţƵ education is essential to Mace to ensure we create the next generation of talent we need right across our business.

“Building essential skills is beneficial, because it means we can help young people and new entrants really understand and be prepared for the workplace of today and what employers are looking for.

“By going out into schools and connecting with young people you can shape the future of your workforce, so why wouldn’t you do it.”

Oli de Botton, CEO of the ţƵ & Enterprise Company says:

“Many construction companies are now leading the way working in the education sector to help develop the talent they need.

“Getting young people ready for work involves building skills with rigour and with the help of employers.

“More and more businesses are getting involved in education and getting in early. For an increasing number, recruitment now starts in Year 7.

“Modern careers education brings employers and educators together - giving young people a direct line of sight into work and helping employers understand their future work force.  When we get this right, we have a skills agenda that works for business and young people.”

Employer Standards

Use our tried and tested framework to identify and plan your work with schools, special schools, and colleges, and align this with your business objectives.

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