New Career Ready construction programme launches in Manchester

A groundbreaking new partnership between leading construction employers and Career Ready was launched in August in the North West – the first of three national hubs that aim to close the skills gap currently threatening the industry. 

Think Build, a project that aims to prepare young people for success in a future career in the construction industry, was started by Wates and has since seen other major employers, including Arcadis, come onboard.

The project aims to address the lack of diversity in the industry, and open young people’s eyes to the range of career opportunities available within construction. 

Rachel Woolliscroft, Group Sustainability Director at Wates Group, said: “The construction industry is a rich and diverse sector providing fantastic opportunities. At Wates, we recognise the importance of working with schools and colleges to ensure that we attract the best talent to work for us to meet the needs of our growing business. 

“We are delighted to be working with Career Ready on their Think Build programme. We have a long history working here in the North West and through this partnership, alongside other construction organisations, we will inspire the next generation to ensure construction is a career of choice not chance.”

Kerry Sneddon, Emerging Talent Recruitment Manager at Arcadis, said:
“Working with Career Ready is a great fit for Arcadis as they support our vision of ‘Improving Quality of Life’. We are keen to make a difference to the lives of young people, particularly those with little family background of higher education or professional careers.  We hope that the students will gain knowledge about the industry and careers within Arcadis as well as learning key soft skills they’ll need in any career.  

“It is vital that the construction industry shares as much knowledge and information about career opportunities as possible – especially with the skills shortage facing the industry – and we hope that our partnership with Career Ready will help to address this gap.”

The project will start in September 2016 with three hubs across the UK, and kicked off in the heart of North West Construction hub, at a launch event at Salford City College on Wednesday 31 August. 

Caitlin Sillitoe, who completed the Career Ready programme at Fazakerley High School in Liverpool is now studying to be a quantity surveyor with BAM construction, where she completed her Career Ready internship. Caitlin said: “When I first started sixth form I had very little idea of what I wanted to do. The programme not only gave me a wider understanding of the engineering industry, but completely changed my career path. 

“During my internship at BAM Construction I was the only girl on the construction site, screaming at the men to get their helmets on. I loved it.”

Salford City College has been running the Career Ready programme with other industry themes since 2013.

David Shingler, Curriculum Manager for Maths and STEM Academy Coordinator at Salford City College, said: “Our existing STEM Career Ready has been an enormous success. The students have all gained so much and have really valued the opportunities that have been open to them through the programme. 

“Our students have completed internships in many areas of STEM, including Engineering firms, Quantity Surveying, and the NHS among others, though the majority have gravitated towards construction engineering. I am really looking forward to offering more great opportunities in this field than ever before, allowing our students to see how their academic studies can be used in the real world and gain experience in an industry sector that offers many fascinating careers.”

Charley Duxbury, Career Ready Construction Project Manager, said: “We know from 14 years’ experience working with employers that giving young people access to an employer network can act as the critical motivation that they need to work hard and have a successful career. 

“Opening these young people’s eyes to the opportunities that are available to them in construction may do exactly that and will also support the talent pipeline for the industry in the North West, London and Birmingham. 

“We are delighted to be working with construction employers large and small to be closing the skills gap that is currently posing a serious threat to the industry, and helping to address some of the negative stereotypes that stop young people from pursuing a career in construction."