As ConstructionSkills launches its first TV advert aimed at attracting young people to construction Paul Sealy, Group Training and Development Manager for Kier gives his view of the campaign.
If you happened to be watching the Simpsons or Average Joe on Tuesday night, you may have caught the construction industry’s first attempt to raise its profile through TV advertising.
If, like me, you didn’t, it's probably because you’re not in the 14-19 year old age group that ConstructionSkills are targeting. The advert, which I saw at the launch in London last week, shows an industry that offers excitement, variety and a range of careers to aspire to. It shows a brick and challenges young people to see what it represents: great architecture, innovative building techniques and career opportunities.
This is the sixth Positive Image profile building campaign that has been run on behalf of the industry. The number of young people applying to courses in all aspects of construction has risen sharply over the past couple of years. And as one of the industry’s biggest and better known companies in construction, employing over 7000 people and turning over approximately £1.4 billion each year, our experiences certainly reflect this: not only have the number of applications risen, but the number of high quality applicants that we receive has also increased.
This campaign is still important though. As well as making the industry more visible to young people, it also challenges them to question whether they are good enough to join it - an element of self-selection may help the industry to increase retention.
The challenge now is to ensure that everyone in the industry offers the opportunities that the advertising illustrates. At Kier we support the industry’s recruitment drive by taking on apprentices and technicians, running a graduate programme and providing under-graduate sponsorships.
But all companies, no matter what size, can do their bit to ensure that ‘life reflects art’ for interested young people. We must make sure that they become part of a sustainable future for the construction industry - a future of skilled, qualified people with training at the heart of all its projects.
We work in an industry to be proud of, we need the brightest and the best to recognise that they could have careers to be proud of if they apply to work with us.