Professional services careers in construction showcased to West Midlands schools

Monday 10th of February 2020 02:37 PM

School children from across the West Midlands found out about the range of professional service careers in the construction sector at a showcase event run in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

A total of 150 pupils, aged 13-15, visited Construction Careers Live yesterday (Thursday 6 February) to learn about professional services where there are skills gaps in the region.

These included architecture, civil and structural engineering, management consulting, project management and cost management.

The event at Millennium Point, Birmingham, was organised by global construction consultancy firm Gleeds in partnership with the WMCA and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who opened the event, said: “It’s essential that school pupils understand the opportunities available to them in the construction industry before they start making career decisions.

“Construction Careers Live is a great way of doing this, and it is also a fantastic example of how we are working with the industry to help address their skills gap.

“Helping young people to get the best start to their career is a key ambition of the WMCA, and I am delighted that the construction industry in the region is being so receptive.”

The construction industry in the region is expected to create 50,000 new jobs over the next ten years.

Lorraine Gregory, CITB regional partnership manager for the Midlands and North, said: “We are delighted to support Construction Careers Live at Millennium Point in Birmingham.

“Each year more people are leaving the industry than those who join it, placing increasing constraints on our capacity to build, as demand outweighs supply. This is why it’s so important to attract new talent into the industry.”

Pupils from the following schools joined a series of interactive workshops at Construction Careers Live:

  • Birmingham: Holyhead School, Hillcrest School, Kings Heath Boys
  • Coventry: Westwood Academy
  • Solihull: Smiths Wood Academy
  • Dudley: Dudley Academy Trust
  • Walsall: Barr Beacon School
  • Wolverhampton: Our Lady and St Chad’s, West Midlands University Technical College (UTC)

The following companies held workshops at the event:

  • Gleeds – project management, management consulting
  • AECOM – cost management
  • Intervention Architecture – architecture
  • Waterman Group – civil engineering, structural engineering

Event organiser Michael Parker, associate director of Gleeds, said: “It’s vital that employers actively engage with schoolchildren to raise awareness of professional services careers in construction.

“Construction Careers Live has been something of a rallying call in trying to tackle the industry skills gap, to ensure we capitalise on the investments coming into the region.

“The event has been made possible by a huge collaborative effort between the WMCA, CITB, employers and schools – we look forward to it continuing in years to come!”

The WMCA is also helping to address the construction skills gap through its Construction Gateway programme for adults who are unemployed, or on short-hours contracts or low-skilled jobs.

Learners gain the ‘tickets’ they need to be site-ready for work – and, crucially, are guaranteed a job interview on completion of the course. They also get help with interview techniques, CV writing and employability skills.

After completing the course, they are supported on their journey to work through the National Careers Service for as long as they need, regardless of whether their first interview is a success. 

Those who are not offered a job immediately are added to the West Midlands “site-ready talent pool” – which is shared with construction recruiters and provides a list of people who are ready for work immediately.

So far, 1,403 people have been through the Construction Gateway training since summer 2018, with 627 people having successfully moved into jobs after completing the course.

To sign up for construction training, talk to your local JobCentre or contact the National Careers Service West Midlands on 0121 296 5550, or you can find out more information about the National Careers Service via https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ or by calling 0800 100 900.