It’s not long until our fit-out specialists Joe Benson, Joe Dowlaty and Libby Giddings head off to the CoreNet Global Summit in Amsterdam to explore the world of real estate and how we realign to the new norm.
Looking ahead, it came as little surprise that one of the main conference themes is attracting and retaining young talent. Even though 9% of the UK’s workforce works in construction, we know the industry struggles with its perception, often being the last career choice for young people. Many further and higher education establishments rarely offer construction-related courses compared to other professions. Something The Future Innovation Group, a new think tank, will explore as they recently announced its ambition to identify why the industry struggles to attract and retain young people.
Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) have attended career fairs where many 15-16-year-olds expressed interest in careers with purpose and meaning. A generation inspired to make a difference to climate change, use the latest technology and innovation and travel.
All possible in our industry, yet it wasn’t on their radar. However, when young, fresh talent enters the industry, like the 44 apprentices RLB has taken on in the last few years, their perception of the industry significantly changes.
Isabelle Bowen, Assistant Cost Manager at RLB who recently joined as an apprentice, shared her experience: “Starting my apprenticeship straight after sixth form, I was a novice to the industry. The opportunity to start my career with a mix of hands-on experience and academic-led learning not only helps me build professional relationships within my team but also gives me understanding of the industry and the wealth of opportunities it provides.”
Through RLB’s Future Professionals Programme, we offer many different pathways to become chartered across our disciplines, which opens a world of opportunities. It is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
Our three experts attending are keen to share their experiences and inspire those finishing school and college. Their day-to-day is full of challenges, rewards and opportunities. It is far from just bricks and mortar. It’s understanding the difference buildings can make to society. Construction provides jobs through the places we build, be it a hospital or a school, increases social mobility by connecting rural areas with towns through new infrastructure and builds communities and places for future societies to live, work and play.
Many of young people’s passions ring true to the industry – climate change, levelling up regional inequality and celebrating diversity and inclusion. It is these areas that require future skillsets to succeed. Our clients seek carbon alternatives, to add social value to projects and to design and create inclusive workplaces for all to meet investors’ criteria and occupier demands.
We have moved from being driven by cost, time and quality, and although these are still important, they are just as important as the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.
This is where the contradiction lies. On the one hand, we have an industry that needs to attract and retain talent, but that talent has been lured by other industries. And then on the other, our industry is at the forefront of the change that many of that talent feel so passionate about.
We all have a part to play and the RLB team will be joining the conversations at the forthcoming CoreNet Global Summit to support the construction industry in raising its voice to attract much needed new talent and skills.