On Friday 27th October, Youth Employment UK’s CEO Laura-Jane Rawlings was interviewed by the TRIBE Network on youth friendly employment practice and how the construction industry can attract more young talent.
The construction industry, like many others has identified an acute skills gap. The world of construction recognises that it needs to do more to attract and retain young talented people to meet its future workforce needs.
The construction industry is worth £90 billion annually to the UK, employs more than 2.93 million people and has an aging workforce with 37% of employees over 50 years old. In a recent CITB survey, the sector scored low with young people aged 14-19 as a preferred career choice according to the Designing Buildings Wiki.
So how do you challenge some of the stereotypes about construction careers that make young people turn away from the sector?
In the interview I shared that most young people tell us that they do not know what careers exist. Apart from naming the careers of people closest to them, young people simply do not know the depth of opportunity that exists for them.
1. Point young people to free careers resources highlighting construction careers
It is why free resources like our Careers Hub are so important; the Careers Hub provides inspiring careers information that allows young people to explore key sectors and career roles.
2. Construction employers should focus on early interventions and raising awareness from school onwards
Other barriers young people face include cost, travel, a lack of confidence in their skills and often a lack of networks that can be used to access early career opportunities. It is why at Youth Employment UK we encourage and support employers to build relationships with schools, colleges and youth services as well as provide essential work experience opportunities. These early interventions, along with the provision of role models and great careers information start to break down stereotypes, inspire young people and provide the early support that they need to take that next step in thinking about a career.
3. Construction employers should demonstrate that they are supportive of the young people they hire
It is also important to know that young people often lack confidence in their futures and many young people do not believe that employers are supportive of hiring them. In our 2019 Youth Voice Census only 31% of young people felt that employers were youth friendly and more recently 93% of young people told us that they would be more confident in applying for jobs where the employer had a youth friendly mark.
Youth Employment UK worked with young people to develop the Youth Friendly Employer Mark and the Charter that sits behind it. Our aim was to help employers already working with young people be recognised for that work and support employers with best practice guidance to develop new early careers and employment opportunities. The mark allows an employer to proudly show that they are committed to supporting young people into employment and in turn provides young people with a clear signal that this is a great employer to work for.
You can watch the interview by joining the free TRIBE Network Facebook Group here. Maria Coulter, TRIBE Network Founder, invites organisations in and outside the construction sector to connect.
What is the TRIBE Network?
The TRIBE Network is a free Facebook group founded by Maria Coulter, The Construction Coach.
This is an inclusive environment for anyone in Construction and the Built Environment who wants and is championing change.
For so long we have been caught up in a ‘race to the bottom’ on cost. This has driven poor decisions and behaviours. We also have challenges attracting the next generation and retaining the good people we have.
So, how do we start a ‘race to the top’?
This group will help.
There is a movement for change which is growing and gathering pace. The TRIBE Network Facebook page will showcase key themes and experts every month to bring fresh ideas, perspective and a bit of disruption into our industry.
Themes such as mindset, image, procurement, progression, collaboration, technology, and leadership will be debated every month and provide a focus to share your experiences. I can’t wait to hear from you all and build a supportive network of change makers to help each other in this race to build a better industry.