Young people shun 'unexciting' construction careers
Less than one in ten young people would consider a career in construction, despite the fact that more than half have an interest in subjects that would qualify them for the industry.
That’s the finding of a survey by housing association and developer L&Q, which surveyed 1,095 16-18-year-olds about their career aspirations.
Despite the fact there are 167 different careers in construction and the built environment is the second biggest employer in the country after the NHS, the research found that the industry was perceived as “challenging and unexciting” by students.
Around 50% of the young people said that they were interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). But only 9% stated that they would consider a career in housebuilding.
Around half of all construction careers require degrees in a STEM subjects and the Construction Industry Training Board estimates that 230,000 new recruits will be needed by 2020 to support construction growth and account for an ageing workforce.
The news came as L&Q launched its £1m schools programme aimed at increasing the number of young people joining the construction industry by raising awareness of the wide variety of jobs available.
The programme, called Learning to Succeed, will offer free STEM education lessons and careers advice to 30 schools in 12 London boroughs. The programme is being developed and delivered in partnership with Construction Youth Trust, the construction industry’s youth charity.
Schools became obliged to provide weekly careers advice to all pupils in 2018, although no extra funds have been allocated. L&Q claimed it was the first housing association in the country to offer careers advice and assistance of this kind.
The survey also revealed that for the 9% who were interested in construction, the “excitement” of the field was the biggest factor for their interest
Meanwhile, some 40% of young people feared they wouldn’t be good at the job.
Matthew Corbett, director of the L&Q Foundation, said: “Construction isn’t just about hard hats and steel capped boots, it’s also about innovation, technology, great design, communities and placemaking. If we’re going to solve our housing crisis, then we need our young people to help – but first we need to increase interest and awareness of the opportunities the industry has to offer.
“The average age of a tradesman on a site is now 45-years-old. And Brexit is looming. We’ve got a serious amount of work to do in promoting ourselves if we’re ever going to fill the substantial gaps in our skills base and make the industry more appealing to younger people.”
Construction Youth Trust director, Carol Lynch, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with L&Q to develop and deliver the Learning to Succeed programme. It is through the development of programmes like Learning to Succeed that we can challenge the negative misperceptions of the construction industry and inspire young people to choose a career from amongst the amazing breadth of roles available within the sector.”