Senior Architectural Systems

Why the industry’s skills shortage should be a primary concern: A Senior article

  • 24 Jul 2018

Mark Wadsworth, managing director of Senior Architectural Systems, discusses how going back to school could help secure the future success of the fenestration industry.

Of all the challenges facing the construction industry, the shortage of young skilled workers is one that is proving difficult to overcome. With the added uncertainty of how wide the UK’s skills gap may be post-Brexit, it’s clear that the time for action is now.

Finding a way to attract and retain the interest of the next generation so that they not only consider but follow a career in construction is vital and in my opinion, one solution is to take a grass-roots approach to engage with young people at the earliest opportunity.

In real terms, this means taking the message of building a career in construction to school-age children and working with them to break down barriers and challenge perceptions.

Taking a new view

Much of the industry talk surrounding the skills shortage has focussed on the need to create apprenticeships and although this is without doubt an important stage, it doesn’t have to be the first step.

If we are only talking to young people who have gone so far down their educational careers and already have a preferred job in mind, we are missing out on the untapped potential of primary and high school pupils who are yet undecided about what they want to be when they grow up.

The construction industry covers a wide range of skills and yet it’s fair to say that the general public’s understanding of the specialist trades is somewhat limited.

Senior Architectural Systems

How much does the average school leaver really know about the fenestration market? Probably very little and what they do know is likely to be influenced by often negative stereotypes.

For example, not all construction careers are site or factory based – there’s a whole range of disciplines available from design and estimating to sales and marketing.

Similarly, not all construction workers are male and although there are other issues at play in terms of increasing the number of women working in the industry, it’s important to make sure that young girls know that there is a potential career for them too.

Vital and visible

Of course, the prospect of presenting to an inquisitive group of 12 years olds may seem daunting but unless more companies fly the flag for construction careers in a school environment, the opportunity to educate and engage will be lost.

Attending local career days or visiting schools to talk about job opportunities are just some of the ways to raise awareness and are easily achievable.

Senior Architectural Systems

Partnering with schools and colleges in your immediate area can also help to showcase your company as a being a credible local employer, as can sponsoring a local community or school sports team to build brand awareness.

Flexibility for the future

Of course, it’s equally as important to retain interest as it is to attract attention. We need to ensure that young people receive relevant training or apprenticeships, with a greater link between the work experience given and the type of job that they may ultimately gain.

However the industry is not simply in need of more traditional apprenticeship schemes but instead a total attitude change towards how we attract, nurture and ultimately retain new construction workers.

Senior Architectural Systems

Apprenticeships are a great way to offer practical experience to young people but they are more likely to be successful if they are flexible enough to fit in and around study and are open to younger students. Again, linking up with a local school to offer work experience placements is worth considering.

By opening our doors to young people to offer them hands-on experience in a range of disciplines we can help create a pool of ‘work-ready’ employment candidates that not only have the relevant skills to develop a successful career in construction but are passionate about pursuing one.

Leave a Reply

Latest news

Vent-Axia

Vent-Axia welcomes editorial published in BMJ on ventilation reducing COVID-transmission

With further easing of lockdown restrictions on 17 May, pubs, restaurants, gyms, offices and other businesses should prepare for reopening by checking and improving their ventilation, says Vent-Axia.

Posted in Air Conditioning, Articles, Building Industry News, Building Services, Facility Management & Building Services, Health & Safety, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - HVAC, Interiors, news, Posts, Research & Materials Testing

Barratt

500,000 homes later: Barratt revisits past seven decades of homebuying to mark major milestone

Leading national housebuilder Barratt Developments PLC is celebrating the completion of its 500,000th home, with the launch of a new digital tool which takes a nostalgic look back through the past 60 years.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Services, Facility Management & Building Services, Information Technology, Innovations & New Products

Senior

Senior brings its aluminium solutions to the ‘Steel City’

Leading manufacturer Senior Architectural Systems has successfully delivered the full aluminium fenestration packages to two new contracts in Sheffield.

Posted in Aluminium Products, Articles, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Systems, Case Studies, Curtain Walling, Doors, Facades, Glazing, Restoration & Refurbishment, Retrofit & Renovation, Walls, Windows

Selectaglaze

Centre of excellence for special educational needs is improved with Selectaglaze secondary glazing

A new school and centre of excellence for special educational needs in Chester’s historic Abbey Square features Selectaglaze secondary glazing. This is part of the refurbishment of two Grade II* Listed Georgian buildings.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Services, Building Systems, Case Studies, Glass, Glazing, Lighting, Posts, Restoration & Refurbishment, Retrofit & Renovation, Windows