Construction industry pledges support for Capital Xperience project

Employers from UK construction companies gathered last night at Land Securities Gallery, SW1 for the launch of the 2009 Capital Xperience programme. The Construction Youth Trust is managing the employer engagement for this programme and, with a target of 50 students to be accommodated this year, it is vital that construction companies back the programme and offer placements for August 2009. Those employers attending the launch committed to provide 16 placements and the Trust is now looking for more companies to step up and support this life changing initiative.

The Capital Xperience programme enables students from schools and colleges in the five Olympic boroughs, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest to gain valuable paid work experience within various professions in the construction industry during a four week summer placement.

With its administration funded by the London Development Agency, the programme is designed to encourage students to consider careers in construction as well as providing them with useful employability skills.

Declan Kiernan was one of the students who made it onto last year’s fiercely competitive work experience programme and secured a four-week paid summer placement with Taylor Woodrow Construction. He attended the launch to share his experiences with the employers who were interested to find out more about the programme.

Capital Xperience has been designed to provide students with a taste of the construction sector from a variety of seminars, information sessions and site visits. Those who, like Declan, progressed onto a four-week paid summer placement, were required to demonstrate a high level of responsibility, decision making and management skills. Last year more than 100 students applied to take part in the programme and 40 students were selected for a four-week paid summer placement.

Declan commented “Originally I was planning to study medicine and hadn’t really considered a career in construction. Spending time with the team at Taylor Woodrow and being able to ask them about the role of an engineer has given me a really good idea of the profession for myself. In September I am going to Southampton University to study engineering."

John Peters, Construction Youth Trust said "Construction companies should support the Capital Xperience programme. We need the brightest graduates in our industry and we need to show these young people what exciting careers our industry can offer before they make their career choices. They are our future and we should invest in them now.”

Christine Townley, Director of the Construction Youth Trust added “Capital Xperience is a great programme that allows talented Sixth-formers from East London to get a very valuable work placement in the sector so they can make an informed choice on their career and University course.”

If you are a construction business and interested in offering work experience placements to Capital Xperience students please contact Mark Bennett at the Construction Youth Trust at mark.bennett@cytrust.org.uk or 020 7227 4562.

Notes to editors:

The Construction Youth Trust achieves its goals by undertaking a number of programmes ranging from individual bursaries to construction skills courses, and from work placement schemes to guidance sessions. By helping individuals to gain training & employment the Trust's work effectively tackles social exclusion and related disadvantage. www.constructionyouth.org.uk
Capital Xperience is a 3-year programme designed to encourage young people who are in full time post-16 education within the five “Olympic Host Boroughs” to pursue a career in the professional and technical support areas of construction. It is aimed not just at those who are already considering built environment-related courses post-18 but it also seeks to inspire other talented youngsters who may not yet appreciate what our exciting industry has to offer them as a career. The programme achieves its aim through construction careers awareness raising in schools and by giving selected students experience of the construction industry through the provision of, 4 week, paid summer holiday work placements. All the students are 16+ and almost all will be midway through their ‘sixth-form’ and studying for ‘A’ Levels. To prepare them for work in the construction environment the students are given 2 weeks of intensive ‘pre-placement’ training, which includes taking the ConstructionSkills Health & Safety Test. Following this training, participating Employers select those students they wish to engage through a competitive interview process ensuring that only those who will really benefit will take part.
The administration of the scheme is funded by the London Development Agency. www.lda.gov.uk