The Construction Workforce is not unfamiliar with stereotypes. Ask someone to picture a construction worker and, more often than not, the image of muddy boots, hard hats, and building sites is brought to mind. Anyone working in the industry will know that the reality is that the industry is much more diverse.
It has been expected, especially throughout the last decade, that the 2020’s will be the decade in which the Industry will feel the effects of an aging workforce. Attempts to attract young workers to the Construction Industry have been ongoing for years. Efforts to educate a younger generation about the varied nature of the industry have seen established Industry events, such as Plantworx and UK Construction Week, opened to young people and student groups.
Perhaps one reason that less young people are pursuing construction as a career is that it is not portrayed as a ‘viable’ option for school leavers. It is vital that as an industry, we put in effort to dispel the myth that construction is a ‘secondary choice’. One of the most effective ways that this can be done is by introducing construction as a career choice at a younger age. Many in the construction industry feel that secondary school age is appropriate. For this reason, new events are taking place specifically to educate young people about the construction industry.
WMCA: Plant Construction Careers Live
An area of the industry particularly effected by the expected decline in the workforce is construction plant operation. This week, Plant Planet attended Plant Construction Careers Live, hosted by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The event brought together employers and prospect employees from across the West Midlands Region. The aim: to dispel the myths and show plant operation and construction industry as an attractive career path for a younger generation.
The event coincided with UK Apprenticeships Week. Many exhibitors themselves offer construction apprenticeships and training, and were keen to provide visitors information on how to apply.
An Interactive Experience
Supported by a range of Industry heavyweights including A Plant, L Lynch, and Flannery; the event provided an interactive experience for young people to make connections.
The success of the show lay in it’s immersive nature. Visitors were able to experience machinery through a range of simulators, remote controlled miniatures, and outside in the small plant exhibition zone. This format allowed prospective workers to gain real understanding of what the operation of machinery is like practically.
The event was hosted in partnership with the CITB, CPA, and CECA. Further support was shown by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who even took part, operating a JCB digger in the outside area. Events like Plant Construction Careers Live, and the support given to the industry by local authorities, are vital to the success of the industry attracting a younger workforce.
Plant Planet’s March Issue will include a full review of the event.