PACE Architects opened its doors to the next generation of workers this week as it continues its pledge to help tackle the construction skills gap in the North East.
Despite growth across the region’s construction sector, the widening skills shortage continues to loom large with fewer young people than ever considering the sector as a route for future employment.
In a bid to combat the threat of a shrinking talent pipeline, eight year 11 students from Thomas Hepburn Community Academy in Gateshead took part in a workshop held at Spaceworks in Gosforth, in collaboration with Foundation Futures – a social enterprise and specialist training service dedicated to supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils in the region.
Space Group CEO Rob Charlton hosted an interactive session for the students with members of the Space team, which saw the students take part in construction themed activities with members of the Space team.
Space Group has since offered four out of the eight participating students work placements, following which it hopes to offer them apprenticeships within Space Architecture.
Sue Davidson of Foundation Futures said: “Foundation Futures seeks to ensure that all young people in the region believe they can, and have the ability, to secure a job. Rob’s talk was particularly inspiring and it was great to see the students interacting with some of the hi-tech construction equipment on display, it really opened their eyes to the opportunities within the sector and gave them some much needed confidence, which was great to see.
“Thomas Hepburn Community Academy are just one of the many schools we work with who use innovative ways to improve the employment opportunities for their students, by engaging with organisations such as ourselves.”
The session further emphasised Space Group’s commitment to young people in the region following its launch of CAMPUS in 2013 – a purpose-built training suite specifically designed to cater for teaching and building useable, relevant BIM (Building Information Modelling) skills for 19 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Space Group CEO Rob Charlton said: “It’s so easy for local businesses to give young people a starting chance and at Space Group we are committed to doing all that we can to encourage them to make the most of the opportunities which might go towards equipping our youngsters for the world of work.
“In construction specifically we are in the midst of a skills crisis and it is vital for the economy as a whole that we encourage young people into the sector – they are the future life-blood of the industry.”
Rob added: “There are unfortunately some young people who have not had the best chances in life and have become disengaged with life early on. By holding sessions such as today’s we can hopefully start to understand why some young people disengage and look at ways they might feel better valued and excited. Who knows, we may have even got a couple of them to consider construction as a career path.”