'El Ingeniero': Setting out Success

Christine Townley discusses the transferable skills construction can offer and how we need to spread this news to young people. Like the Civil Engineer he is by training, the new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini knows that solid constructions need steel.

As I watched Pellegrini's new Manchester City recruits deliver a demolition job on Newcastle at the Etihad last week, I began to think about the lessons we can draw from his varied career.

Having studied Civil Engineering at university, Pellegrini embarked on a successful playing career, playing 28 times for the Chilean national team. His retirement at 33 was young for a central defender, but Pellegrini was driven by the desire to help reconstruction projects in the Chilean central zone after the devastating Algarrobo earthquake in 1985. Through the Trust's pre-professional programme Budding Brunels, our project teams regularly meet students who become inspired to enter construction for similar reasons; a desire to learn skills which will help develop much-needed infrastructure in their home countries.

As Pellegrini began building successful teams in Argentina and Spain, the "Engineer" moniker stuck with him, reflecting his precise approach to formations and strategy (his mastery of Physics can't have done any harm either!) Pellegrini's story shows us how rewarding a career in the built environment can be, as well as how transferrable the core skills and competencies often are. Construction Youth Trust is committed to ensuring that students from non-privaleged backgrounds are aware of the range of professional careers available to them in the built environment, and the potential rewards construction roles can offer. Against a backdrop of reduced careers guidance in schools and a looming skills shortage in key areas such as Engineering, the Trust's Budding Brunels projects offers sector-led careers guidance by opening up some of the most high profile construction developments across the country.

While Pellegrini's career arc is inspiring, the challenge facing us as an industry is to excite young people about the range of opportunity offered through construction, unprompted by immediate challenges such as responding to natural disasters. We know that there are multiple challenges facing the UK's economy and infrastructure, many of which can be addressed through emerging and diverse talent in the built environment.

Through the Trust's work we know that unfortunately this talent is often left untapped due to lack of awareness and aspiration; please work with us to help access and nurture these vital skills in the next generation.