Teachers, parents and career advisors ‘unaware of career opportunities’ across the industry, according to Kier survey 

The UK’s construction industry continues to struggle with an image problem and must do more to highlight the sector’s career opportunities to youngsters and parents alike, according to a new report.

Research carried out for Kier Construction found that parents of schoolchildren had serious concerns about the quality of careers advice available in schools, while there was a lack of awareness on the part of both parents and teachers concerning the various entry points into the construction industry.

With the industry needing 400,000 new recruits a year simply in order to keep pace with demand, the study found that 90% of teachers in the UK were “unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in the construction sector and 41% not realising there is an issue at all”.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of 1,006 parents polled said they believed careers advice in schools was too focused on academia, while more than half (54%) of the teachers (1,000) and parents surveyed believed there was little in the way of career progression within the construction industry.

The industry was going through an “image crisis”, according to Kier’s chief executive Haydn Mursell.

This was based on out-of-date perceptions and advice, he said. “We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.”

Mursell said Kier would pledge a minimum of 1% of its workforce as ‘Career Ambassadors’ to work with schools and colleges across the UK, in order to engage with at least 10,000 pupils during the next 12 months.