Career festivals a hit with students

Attracting talented, young people to the industry to fill a widening skills gap continues to be a challenging and pressing issue, so it was encouraging to see such a positive response to the Building Our Skills career ‘festivals’ held last week.

Held over two days, the festivals started at Barnsley FC’s Oakwell Stadium and concluded at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium. Building Our Skills claims that around 700 students attended.

I visited the Manchester event and was impressed not only by the number of students filling the room but also by the presence of so many leading industry organisations.

These included a number of system houses, AGC Glass, RegaLead, Bohle, Kubu…as well as the GGF, specialist training provider GFTS and marketing agency, Nix Collective, to name just a few.

Building Our Skills says that over 30 companies took part in the initiative, representing a wide range of sectors, and all of them had the opportunity to engage with the students, to open their eyes to a potential career in an industry they would almost certainly have had no prior knowledge of.

All in all, it was a successful two days – Building Our Skills is already working on follow up events elsewhere in the UK – but can we say for sure that in a few years’ time we will see a sudden rush of new installers, system designers and hardware specialists?

Time will tell, but regardless of the numbers that may actually decide that a career in fenestration is for them, Building Our Skills should be applauded for its proactive approach to highlighting our industry.

Much has been said about the value of funnelling young people into university and often, degree courses that aren’t really worth the paper they’re written on.

If events such as these can help students decide on a higher education path that leads to a worthwhile career – preferably in fenestration – then they will have proven to be a great success.

And some in the industry would also argue that if they can attract young people to apprenticeships, to learn while they earn, then even better.