Tackling the image of the industry

Research carried out by the Construction Youth Trust and launched yesterday at The Royal Chelsea  Hospital identifies the poor image of the construction industry amongst teachers, parents, careers advisors and other influencers as a key factor acting as a barrier to disadvantaged young people entering the construction industry.

Combined with employer confusion about never ending changes to qualifications and ‘initiative fatigue’, huge opportunities are being lost to match up employment opportunities to the training and skills agenda.

'Construction Careers - The Challenge to Meet Employers' and Community Aspirations', commissioned with the financial support of Wates Foundation and conducted on behalf of Trust  by Professor Laurence Wood  identifies the barriers faced by disadvantaged people living in London when seeking entry to training or employment opportunities in the construction industry.  It goes on to explore existing and potential solutions for overcoming these barriers and identifies best practice and recommendations on the way forward in relation to:


• Communication and the promotion of careers in the construction industry

• Government and other initiatives

• Education, training and apprenticeships.

The report's emphasis is on providing practical solutions that can make a real difference to the lives of people from disadvantaged communities and backgrounds in London who can benefit from careers in the industry whilst also providing future employees who can meet the needs of employers.

Having identified key factors affecting entry to the construction industry the report goes on to recommend a number of key recommendations.

Key recommendations include:

Specific methods of engagement with primary and secondary schools as well as sixth formers and graduates.
A ‘one stop shop’ web based resource centre for teachers and students.
Development of a ‘work ready’ programme and embedding of Skills for Life
Setting up of a database of all construction related initiatives and a register of all trainees and apprentices.
Maximising the potential of the London Skills and Employment Board’s 5 years strategy.
The creation of a central clearing house to place potential apprentices with employers. (The National Apprenticeship Service, launched in January 2009, offers such a service throughwww.apprentices.org.uk.)

Christine Townley, Director of the Construction Youth Trust said “I welcome the findings of this report. If the industry can deliver the report’s key recommendations it would change the landscape of the industry completely. It is paramount that the industry works together in a cohesive manner to get the message across to the young people that the construction industry is a viable option when considering their future career plans.”

Professor Laurence Wood said “If the key recommendations in the report stimulate discussion leading to action within the industry and its partners in education, government and commerce as to how best to satisfy the aspirations of both potential employees and employers, it will have succeeded in its goal.