Educating the younger generation on a career in construction

As of April 2021, the construction industry is one of the UKs largest sectors, contributing a huge £110 billion a year which contributes 7% to the UKs GDP. Digging a little deeper into the numbers, there are 234,000 businesses focused on contracting, 30,000 focused on services and 18,000 focused on products across the UK construction market.

Although the construction industry delivers such large numbers there has always been a skills shortage. Reports show that there is a lack of high-level skilled trade individuals wanting to take on these professional roles.

Why is the construction industry in this position?

This particular situation has come about due to a few reasons including:

  • The construction industry not being appealing as a career choice for the younger generation (14 to 21 year olds).
  • Construction industry apprenticeships have fallen in numbers.
  • Unrealistic perceptions about the industry.

It’s rather clear that the construction industry has had a few issues around attracting younger talent. Over time, these individuals can develop into skilled individuals that can help the sector thrive. The current workforce throughout the industry is getting older with at least a fifth of skilled individuals retiring in the next decade. So, there is valuable knowledge here to pass onto the younger generation interested in construction.

How are the younger generation now being educated on a career in construction?

It’s obvious there is a need to recruit younger people into the industry, for them to truly see construction as a career choice and path. However, reaching this goal will take time. The industry needs to show construction to be a viable and attractive career choice. How does the construction industry make themselves more attractive to the younger generation?

Lead with technology

The generation of young individuals the construction industry is trying to attract are digitally savvy. In fact, they’ve likely been using technology from a younger age than most of the experienced skilled workers across the majority of the construction industry. This is a real selling point for the younger generation and where perception needs to be changed. The construction industry now thrives on technology and there are several technology-based roles however, younger might not know that this is the case. They tend to see the external structures and don’t see the technical intricacies of how technology helps to complete projects.

This is where construction and property companies can attend secondary schools and university career fairs to educate the younger generation about the industry and the roles that exist within. Showing them how technology they use every day can be part of their job.

Training and Development Programmes

Innovative and modernised training programmes can make a huge difference in showcasing what the construction industry is really like. Henry Riley are a UK construction and property consultant business that do exactly this with their construction training and development programme. They provide training for furthering not only already skilled professionals, but they also deliver training across apprenticeships and a graduate programme. These types of opportunities provide the younger generation with an entry route whereby they can find themselves a dedicated mentor, start their career on a competitive salary, begin training and nurturing working in a professional environment.

Show the younger generation the career path

The younger generation tend to choose career paths based upon where they want to end up and with construction, they can’t quite see the end objective. They can’t see the career opportunities that exist. This perception needs to be addressed and communicated to get more younger people attracted to the industry.

For the younger generation development is more important than ever. In a world whereby opportunities have grown to unprecedented levels they want to get into an industry that’s flexible and progressive and they need to see and understand this within construction better to choose the industry as a career path.

Where to begin?

If you’re an employer within the construction industry, there are so many initiatives we could be developing and starting. Education is definitely at the forefront of what is needed to communicate with the younger generation about the construction industry. We need to show them in an array of ways why they should choose the construction industry.

Finally, if you’re a young individual thinking about the construction industry, then it’s definitely worth researching and finding the type of companies but also the role you would like to do in the industry, as you may find there are initiatives set up to help support you with entering the industry.