Statistics indicate the construction industry makes up around 9% (or 3 million) of the UK’s workforce. However, it’s often overlooked as a viable career option at the secondary school level. Our industry boasts unparalleled variation in job roles and opportunities. Should we be doing more to promote construction throughout education?
According to Construction News, The School Outreach Company is working with key figures to help raise £100,000 across five regional groups. This is set to include some of the industry’s biggest multi-national companies, working alongside educational institutions. Exciting news indeed!
Educational outreach isn’t something new within the construction industry, however, it’s often up to the company or more service-based associations to take the lead. Having an industry-wide initiative helps present a united front, collaborating with companies of all sizes.
Engaging with schools and educational institutions can be a mutually beneficial venture for companies in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) industry. By reaching out to schools, companies can create valuable partnerships that contribute to their growth and help with their impact.
HOW CAN AEC COMPANIES BENEFIT FROM EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH?
1. PROMOTING INDUSTRY AWARENESS
School outreach provides construction companies with a platform to showcase the diverse range of career options available in the industry. By highlighting exciting projects, innovative technologies, and numerous career paths, companies can help students develop a better understanding of the AEC sector. This helps break stereotypes and misconceptions, attracting a more diverse pool of talent to the industry.
2. FOSTERING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
By engaging with schools, AEC companies can actively contribute to the communities in which they operate. This involvement can include participating in community service projects, offering scholarships or grants, or supporting educational initiatives. By investing in the well-being and development of local schools and students, construction companies can enhance their reputation and build strong relationships within the community.
3. BUILDING A WORKFORCE PIPELINE
Outreach to schools allows AEC companies to nurture and develop a future workforce. By engaging with students early, companies can spark interest in careers related to the industry. This can include organising career fairs, hosting site visits, or providing mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities. By cultivating relationships with schools, construction companies can establish a pipeline of talented individuals who may later become skilled workers, engineers, or managers within the industry.
4. RAISING COMPANY AWARENESS
School outreach initiatives can significantly enhance a company’s brand visibility and reputation. By actively participating in school events, sponsoring educational programs, or providing resources and equipment, construction companies can showcase their commitment to education and community development. This positive exposure can attract potential clients, partners, and employees who align with the company’s values and goals.
HOW CAN AEC COMPANIES BENEFIT FROM EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH?
1. ENHANCED CIRRICULUM
Programmes can provide schools with opportunities to enhance their curriculum by incorporating real-world applications and hands-on learning. These programs can introduce students to construction-related concepts, skills, and technologies, giving them practical knowledge and fostering their interest in the field.
2 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
By exposing students to the industry at an early stage and providing them with skills and certifications, these programs contribute to building a future workforce, at all levels, for the construction industry. This benefits both the students, who gain valuable career prospects, and the industry, which can develop a pool of skilled workers.
3. STEM EDUCATION
STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) are intertwined with the construction industry. By integrating STEM principles into construction-related projects, these programs promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills among students. This can contribute to a broader STEM education initiative within the school and prepare students for future careers in STEM-related fields.
4. CAREER EXPLORATION
Industry outreach programs expose students to the diverse career opportunities available in the construction industry. By engaging with professionals and participating in activities such as site visits, job shadowing, or mentorships, students gain valuable insights into different roles within the industry. This exposure helps them make informed decisions about their career paths and increases their motivation to pursue construction-related vocations.
At Spatial Dimensions, we believe in the power of outreach and engagement. Our commitment goes beyond surveying. We actively seek opportunities to support and engage with schools and educational programmes, helping young minds discover the wonders of the construction industry! Since our inception in 2012 we have regularly attended careers fairs, presented to classes and provided work experience placements to students. It’s something our Managing Director Claire Fenwick is very passionate about and comments “As an industry, we should aspire to attract the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and leaders towards us. We believe the AEC industry opens a world of opportunities and deserves the opportunity to be better promoted in our schools.” to a broader STEM education initiative within the school and prepare students for future careers in STEM-related fields.