Construction Industry Image Addressed Following Startling Research

LESS THAN one in ten young people would consider a career in construction, even though more than half are interested in subjects that qualify them for the industry, according to new research by housing association and developer, L&Q.

A survey of 1,095 16-18 year-olds about their career aspirations revealed that 50% were interested in entering into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths vocations (STEM). However, only nine 9% stated that they would consider a career in housebuilding.

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 and growing skills gap.

As the second biggest employer in the UK, the built environment industry offers 167 different careers with only half of the job prospects requiring degrees in a STEM subjects. Despite his, the survey revealed that the industry was perceived as challenging and un-exciting by students.

The survey revealed:

  • Science is the most popular school subject, closely followed by maths
  • Young people cited concerns that construction wasn’t an exciting field to work in or they thought they wouldn’t be good at it as reasons for their lack of interest
  • For the 9% who were interested in construction, the “excitement” of the field was the biggest factor for their interest
  • 40% of young people feared they wouldn’t be fitted to a role in the construction industry
  • Having an exciting career was more important than money to the majority of young people and those that were interested in construction said they were motivated by excitement rather than money

Matthew Corbett, Director of the L&Q Foundation, said: “Construction isn’t just about hard hats and steel capped boots, it’s also about innovation, technology, great design, communities and placemaking. If we’re going to solve our housing crisis, then we need our young people to help – but first we need to increase interest and awareness of the opportunities the industry has to offer.

“The average age of a tradesman on a site is now 45-years-old and Brexit is looming. We’ve got a serious amount of work to do in promoting ourselves if we’re ever going to fill the substantial gaps in our skills base and make the industry more appealing to younger people.”

‘Learning to succeed
The findings were revealed as L&Q launched its new schools programme aimed at increasing the number of young people joining the construction industry by raising awareness of the wide variety of jobs available.

Learning to Succeed is a £1 million programme that will seek to address the sector’s image issues by offering free STEM education lessons and careers advice to 30 schools in 12 London boroughs. The programme is being developed and delivered in partnership with Construction Youth Trust, the construction industry’s youth charity.

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