Lauren's blog: Challenging misconceptions around construction

Recently we delivered a Budding Brunels course in partnership with Scape Group and Wates Group to inspire young people in Derby about career opportunities available to them in the construction industry.

Lauren is one of the brilliant students who attended the course and below you can read her blog:

Construction is a word not usually associated with highly paid jobs and aspirational prospects. In fact, for many of us bricklaying is our instinctive response when asked about construction. Thanks to Construction Youth Trust, I know now this could not be further from the truth.

I was not aware of the limitless career opportunities until polite professionals from Wates, a leading family-owned contractor, enlightened my sixth form in the area of Derby. Construction Youth Trust, Scape Group and Wates Group are working together to raise awareness about the range of career opportunities in construction. By providing a free three-day course, they give students the opportunity to gain an insight into the industry.

A vital stepping stone into the prosperous world

The first day started with ice-breaker activities to make everyone feel welcomed. We were then introduced to industry professionals, who informed us about their job roles and qualifications. The activity helped me understand the importance of work placement experiences in the sector, whether you have an interest in project management or engineering. Our day ended with an extremely engaging site visit to Derby's newest library, which will be built inside the Derby City Council House. We were able to see trade operators during work and were informed about the different phases of the project. It was a glimpse at the massive amount of work around a construction project.

Day two consisted of working on a project; to construct a structure that would become the focal point of Derby. During this task, each student had a different professional role and at the same time, we had to work effectively as a team. As with most team activities, there were difficulties such as miscommunication. However, we managed to overcome this and come up with a great plan. Afterwards, we took part in a stakeholder engagement activity, where every group was assigned a role to play and we had to think of questions to ask the 'panel'.

The final day was by far the most fun, yet tense. We were asked to deliver a pitch presenting our model structure and ideas for the building and master plan for Derby. I found it very interesting that each group had a different perspective on the project; some wanted to highlight iconic buildings from the city's past, whereas others focused on creating a place where all members of the local community could feel equal. Despite my anxiety around public speaking, I felt surprisingly confident during the presentation. In the afternoon, we participated in mock interviews conducted by industry professions, which enabled us to gain vital experience. We also got the chance to improve our employability skills by understanding what employers are looking for during an interview.

The last three days have cemented my ambitions to go into engineering and without a doubt, I would recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in any of the STEM subjects. It will provide you with an understanding of construction and the careers within it.

We are delighted that Scape Group is supporting us to deliver six Budding Brunels school engagement projects across the UK and we look forward to our upcoming projects.