Ahead of her CPD workshop at UK Construction Week – Helping young people to regenerate their lives & communities – Christine Townley, skills and diversity champion at CT Consultants, explains how helping young people help themselves could help your business flourish.
We are in challenging times… skills shortages, an ageing demographic and an urgency to build more homes and better infrastructure in Britain. Alongside this we have many young people who are not working or learning. They could just be the people you need to help your business flourish this year, next year and in to the foreseeable future - so we want to help you recruit one or more of them to your business.
Across the country there are many champions in construction that have found how to source this hidden talent and help them on their journey to a long term future in a satisfying career. Those champions, who are both organisations and individuals, most often join forces to maximise outcomes. Many young people don’t know about the opportunities that this wonderful industry has to offer and some need a little extra help through structured doing and learning to ease them into the world of work.
A recent Government-commissioned workshop, initiated by Shirley Watson in response to a request from the former Minister for Skills, brought together people from the Third Sector, Further Education, the world of construction and a range of Government Departments. They shared best practice case studies of recent employment-related projects aimed at delivering social value, discussed what leads to a successful outcome and some of the blockers when supporting those that are harder to reach into a career in the built environment and considered how good projects could be delivered more widely.
Several of our cities already operate good systems that provide clients and contractors with effective frameworks for helping these young people. Such help and support ranges from: providing advice on how to take a proactive approach in widening the talent pool, introducing “work-ready” candidates to employers, providing pastoral support to the employee and advice to the employer and, facilitating potential employment opportunities in the procurement chain. Collectively, this helps a broader range of young people see construction for the great industry that it is and also helps them understand how to “get on board”.
The case studies from the workshop showed that often it’s because of a partnership between employers, charities, local authorities and the job centre that that a young person is able to cross the transition into work. Employers cannot be expected to do it all and it is important that they too are helped and supported in their quest to bring in and support new talent from this untapped pool.
We are certain that employers want to do more and we know that they would welcome guidance and help to get on the right track and/or maximise the value they provide. At a time when social mobility sits side by side with regeneration many public and private clients are now expecting their “Tier One” contractors and supply chains to play an active part engaging with the local community. Our project is about making this guidance available.
Our workshop at UK Construction Week will discuss what works well in this arena and also will give some examples of what can limit success. We will also provide an opportunity for delegates to share their own experiences and to learn what they might do to make a bigger and more positive impact and help young people help themselves, the industry and the UK.
Christine is a committed skills and diversity champion that has experience both as a civil engineer and an educator and is passionate about bridging the gaps between communities and construction.