Schools failing to promote construction
Half of school-age children have never been given proper information about a possible career in construction by their teachers or counsellors, a new survey has found.
House builder Redrow surveyed 2,000 parents and school-age children and 147 of its own apprentices ahead of National Apprenticeship Week and found that 50% of young people questioned answered “no” when asked if information on careers in construction had ever been discussed with them verbally by a teacher or had been made readily available in careers literature.
Young men were also more likely to have been given advice on a career in construction, with 40% having received this, while 29% of young women had received this advice in comparison.
The survey also found more than half of young people had never given a career in construction any consideration and that the industry continued to fight an image problem, with more than half (55%) stating that “a career in construction mostly involves manual labour.”
Nearly one in five, (19%) of young people also believe a career in construction does not require any qualifications beyond GCSEs.
According to Redrow this lack of knowledge and poor communication is a key contributor to the skills crisis which threatens to throw the house building and construction industry into decline, particularly with Brexit looming and potential labour shortages.
Redrow recommends that the industry needs to better communicate a number of aspects of construction careers including the range of jobs available and the extent of the benefits on offer.
It calls on industry role models to be made more visible and the comparative, significant costs of university attendance should be better publicised.
Parents provide crucial guidance to children and house builders should also be reaching out to them more effectively, to convey the benefits of apprenticeships and the many doors these can open.
Karen Jones, HR director at Redrow, said: “Our research highlights the inadequacy of the careers provision in schools in relation to construction and apprenticeships.
“The skills gap is not something construction companies and house builders can solve independently. Collaboration and a fresh mentality of ‘sharing what works’ is key to overcoming the skills barrier.
“As an industry we must get better at shouting about the benefits of both the apprenticeship route and careers in construction. We must also think outside the box: parents are so crucial to shaping their child’s future and we should be reaching out to them and encouraging them to see the range of fulfilling careers available.”