Engaging with young people

With the average age of a worker in the construction industry 49, and a recent study revealing that 14-19-year-olds scored the industry just 4/10 for attractiveness, bringing new blood into the sector has never been more challenging, according to Howard Trotter, Shelforce’sbusiness manager.

FabricatorShelforce regularly provides hands-on training for school children at its factory in Erdington, Birmingham.

“Attracting more young people and diversity into the industry is hugely important to tackling the skills shortage and we need to take responsibility for this as an industry,” Howard said.

“Young people often see the industry as dirty, low paid, ‘outdoorsy’ and for people who don’t go to college, and we need to change this perception.We need to get the message out to young people and their parents that it’s a highlyskilled industry, that there are plenty of opportunities that young people might not realise, such as sales and marketing roles. There are amazing opportunities for personal development and a career. After all, there’s always going to be a demand for windows and doors.”

The company is set to open a dedicated training facility at its factory to provide regular work experience placements for students from nearby schools, including special needs schools.Shelforcerecently invited four children from a local autistic school to its headquarters, and they got hands-on experience by helping to set a window and take part in a competition to dress a window.

“It’s all about engagement and getting young people through the door,” said Howard. “Our training room will provide the perfect space to welcome students work experience and work placements. By offering regular work experience placements, we want to help young adults of all abilities take their first steps into the workplace.”