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Did you know that just 9% of young people would consider a career in construction?
That’s the recent finding of a survey by giant housing association L&Q, which surveyed 1,095 16 to 18-year-olds about their career aspirations.
Around 50% of the young people said that they were interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). But only 9% stated that they would consider a career in house-building.
Around half of all construction careers require degrees in a STEM subject and the Construction Industry Training Board estimates that 230,000 new recruits will be needed by 2020 to support construction growth and account for an ageing workforce. Currently, the average age of on-site workers is around 45 years.
This is a worrying trend, and needs to be addressed by the industry.
This research might not be shocking to most people working in the construction industry and those who are already aware of the challenges in attracting new talent. For us at Matchtech, it is a hot topic; there is a significant amount of time invested in supporting client initiatives in this regard.
However, although there are programmes promoting the industry, starting with STEM skills in schools and universities, through to workplace apprenticeships, I find myself asking the questions “are we doing enough and what else can be done?”
Built environment regarded as “challenging and unexciting” by students
Despite the fact the built environment is the second biggest employer in the country after the NHS, the L&Q research found that the industry was perceived as “challenging and unexciting” by students.
In a world where the projected advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will significantly reduce employment across a range of other industries, I find it difficult to understand why the construction industry is proving so unpopular with such a large number of the younger generation. Surely a career in an industry that is continually pushing for technological advances, that offers such great diversity in its projects & sectors, and offering the opportunity to apply a chosen skill set anywhere in the world would be attractive?
Serious questions need to be asked. Do we do enough to promote the industry? Are there more innovative ways in which we can give younger people exposure to construction? Why is the industry such an unpopular choice for the younger generation? I would welcome engagement from anyone that feels as strongly as I do about this issue.
How do you think we can inspire young engineers to choose a career in construction? Let us know in the comments below.
You can contact Adam McGlead on 01489 898181 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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