KIER Construction has pledged at least 1% of its workforce as career ambassadors to help attract new talent into the industry.
The firm recently commissioned a study of 2,000 secondary school teachers, parents and careers advisors to look at the perceptions of careers advice and options for school leavers, as well as their understanding of construction and the built environment.
The research uncovered that a staggering 90% of teachers are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in construction, with 41% not realising there is an issue at all. 54% of teachers and parents believe there is a lack of career progression in the industry while age-old stereotypes of the sector being muddy, manual, male-dominated and poorly paid remain commonplace.
Kier said 74% of parents surveyed believe careers advice in schools places too much focus on academia.
Kier chief executive Haydn Mursell said, “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects, which equates to £90 billion of UK GDP delivery and creates a demand for circa 400,000 new recruits per annum, it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.
“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP. But we also have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice. 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.
“For this reason we are pledging a minimum of 1% of our workforce as career ambassadors to work with schools and colleges across the UK, to engage with at least 10,000 pupils over the next 12 months.
“If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”