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Sunday, 25 February

Heading In The Wrong Direction?

There is a lack of knowledge of the many different entry points to a career in the built environment or the construction sectors such as work experience, internships and apprenticeships or even undergraduate and graduate programmes a report has found.

Meanwhile, a high percentage of parents believe that children do not receive enough careers advice at school and what advice is available is too focused on academia.

Against a backdrop of declining GCSE results, the report shows that parents have significant concerns about the quality of careers advice on offer to secondary school pupils. It was commissioned by FTSE 250 construction and services giant Kier and points to a need for business and government to do more to improve out of date advice.

As the construction/built environment sector battles a fundamental image problem, with pupils and parents not appreciating the breadth of career opportunities on offer in the sector – as well as the industry needing to take on 400,000 new recruits per annum to keep pace with the UK’s growing housing and infrastructure demand – this is about averting a £90 billion UK GDP crisis says Kier.

 

Scope

As part of the report, a study of 2,000 secondary school teachers, parents and careers advisors was undertaken to assess perceptions of careers advice and career options for school leavers, and specifically to gauge their understanding of construction and the built environment.

The study identified 90% of teachers across the UK are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in the construction sector, with 41% not realising there is an issue at all.

It also found that 54% of teachers and parents believe there is a lack of career progression in construction/the built environment and associate the industry with being muddy, manual, male dominated and low paid thanks to outdated perceptions. This is despite the fact that the industry provides a wealth of opportunity across all skillsets.

In part, lack of knowledge is being compounded by a lack of detailed careers advice. The report found that over half of pupils (65%) aged 11-13 get no official advice and only a quarter of 13-15 year olds (27%) got ‘one hour, once’ of careers advice.

The report also found that 57% of parents say rising tuition fees put them off encouraging university as an option for their children, yet 81% of parents were unaware that major FTSE companies can pay the cost of a degree course and offer a guaranteed entry point into work upon completion of studies.

 

Leading the way

Given that the public sector faces continued budgetary pressures, schools and councils cannot provide timely, comprehensive and persuasive careers advice without support. With the backing of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Careers & Enterprise Company, Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce as Career Ambassadors to work with schools and colleges over the next 12 months to engage with at least 10,000 school pupils, to inform and inspire the next generation.

Haydn Mursell, Chief Executive of Kier, said: “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects, which equates to £90bn of UK GDP delivery and creates a demand for circa 400,000 new recruits per annum, it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.

“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP. But we also have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice. We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.

 “If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”

 

Are trainees getting the skills they need for starting work?

Instructus Skills, the UK’s largest registration and certification authority for apprenticeships and work-based education, has been tasked with ensuring that the frameworks for Welsh Apprenticeships in both Cleaning & Environmental Support and Facilities Management are delivering on their purpose.

To achieve this, over the next two weeks Instructus Skills are asking employers in the relevant sectors to take a short survey and feedback on how these frameworks can be improved to better meet business aims.

Instructus Skills has created surveys relating to different NOS and frameworks from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. While no organisation is expected to have direct experience of every listed qualification, any feedback that could improve the skills outcome for employers is welcome.

The survey can be found here

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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