The construction industry is facing a massive skills gap, fuelled in part by a perception that construction is predominantly a manual labour industry. This stereotype is discouraging young people and so, over the last year, we have been part of the brilliant ‘Adopt a School’ scheme by Construction in Excellence South West. This scheme aims to address the severe shortage of young people entering the construction industry while challenging the stereotypes often associated with the industry, all in a bid to recruit new talent.
Acorn Blue has successfully partnered with Redruth School to teach young people about the variety of rewarding careers on offer in construction. During school visits, the Acorn Blue team spoke to pupils about the vast number of careers in the industry whilst also highlighting how their current skills and interests could be applied to them. Several students that were interested in materials and art had expressed an interest in landscape architecture, while another student who was keen on photography and art wanted to find out more about interior design. Some students already had specific industry roles in mind, so we were able to offer them the opportunity to meet team members in those roles.
To give students valuable first-hand experience outside of the classroom, we also arranged for them to visit The Dunes in Perranporth. Here, students got the chance to talk to various members of the team on site to learn about their career paths.
The key to getting new talent into the industry is ensuring that support and opportunities are available, so we have partnered with local construction firms to offer young people the chance to undertake apprenticeships. Through our network of contacts, we are encouraging companies to make the industry more accessible by offering students the chance to take up an apprenticeship, where they’ll gain valuable skills and experience, in turn, giving them the stepping stones to build a successful career.
We hope that by engaging with schools and working with other members of the Adopt a School scheme we can change the perception of students, schools and colleges and show that, no matter what your interests, construction can offer a rich variety of rewarding career choices.