Theo, 16, has been working with Construction Youth Trust as part of our Building Opportunities programme. Initially he had some doubts about undertaking a work experience placement, concerns that can be linked back to the influence of the pandemic.

Whilst Covid-19 often seems like a thing of the past, for many young people the pandemic has, and continues to define what is a formative stage of their lives. School and college were moved online, and early careers opportunities, such as work experience and apprenticeships were put on hold. For many of us, our lives have slowly started to resemble what they looked pre-pandemic, however the prospect of preparing to transition from life behind a screen and into the world of work is daunting for many young people.

However, through working with his Construction Youth Trust coach, Theo was introduced to many careers in the construction industry that he never would have discovered independently. Carpentry and joinery “shined the brightest” and as his confidence started to grow, Theo felt ready to give a work experience placement a shot. In August, he completed a week long placement with bespoke furniture company, where he had the opportunity to try out practical skills in his area of interest, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

It’s clear opportunities such as work experience placements play a vital part in setting young people on the right track for a successful career – not only in terms of providing them with demonstrable experience they can show to employers, but in building their confidence and self-esteem as well.

Opportunities like this, particularly in the wake of Covid-19, can be life-defining for young people like Theo, who after completing his work experience placement has gone on to study carpentry! 

“I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but since lockdown we’ve all been a lot more anti-social. Going back to speaking to people has been weird. My favourite part of the placement was being hands on in the workshop, side by side with professionals, as it’s a great way to learn! Work experience is helpful for meeting people on a bigger scale and has been a stepping-stone towards getting back to normal. Plus, it was fun! Going forward, I feel like it’s prepared me as I have knowledge of things I didn’t know before and know what to expect of a workplace.”