A School Engagement Day to entice youngsters into careers in construction has been hailed a success by industry specialists who have united to help bridge the skills gap in the sector.
The event was initiated by The Civil Engineering Training Group North East, (CETG NE), after the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) released a report alongside the North East LEP highlighting the increasing skills gaps within the construction and civil engineering industries in the North East.
CETG NE worked collaboratively with construction leader, Esh Group, training company, Trainbase, and Northumberland County Council to deliver the event which was held at Trainbase’s construction training facility in Bedlington and was attended by 85 students from the town’s Meadowdale Academy.
Kate Marshall, group training officer at CETG NE said: “There is an evident skills gap in this sector within the North East. The region is facing major struggles in the future with the likes of an ageing workforce, Brexit and HS2, which could mean a lot of the North East workforce will migrate down South.
“There are some major infrastructure projects in the pipeline in the North East over the next 5 years and it is vital we attract more students into construction and civil engineering. It is not just about being a bricky on site, the industry needs quantity surveyors, civil engineers, site foremen, groundworkers, plant operators and more.”
Tricia Mullen who is chair of CETG NE, and group training manager of Esh Group added: “Esh Group is committed to helping young people develop employability skills through its range of education programmes and we are delighted to have supported this fantastic event. The Esh team involved in the day all started as apprentices, one of which has won both local and national apprenticeship awards and are best placed to tell the students about their routes into construction.”
The event, which took place on Friday 12th October, included an array of hands-on activities for the students to participate in. Trainbase carried out plant demonstrations and a careers activity, whilst apprentices from Esh Group delivered a presentation to share their experiences of getting started in the industry. Other activities included a bridge building exercise, which was hosted by VolkerBrooks, spot the skills, plant simulator experience and a myth buster challenge.
Tony Rutherford, director & centre manager at Trainbase said: “Through this event we are looking to change perceptions of construction jobs amongst young people and really showcase the wide range of fantastic career opportunities that are available in the sector.
“At Trainbase we are committed to delivering high quality professional training so that young people can obtain the necessary skills and accreditation to prepare themselves for a successful career in construction.”
Carole Richards of Northumberland County Council added: “This kind of engagement between schools and businesses is extremely important for students’ learning and to help raise awareness of career choices.
“Allowing students to go off-timetable and see these jobs first hand can help them choose the right GCSE’s, so they don’t go down the wrong career path. Following the success of the event we hope to be able to repeat it and reach out to more schools in the area.”