It is no secret that the construction industry is facing significant problems with finding the next generation of workers. What’s more, young people can often be unfairly typecast as lazy and lacking enthusiasm which can make it harder for those who are genuine in their passion for a career in construction as they feel they are constantly having to prove themselves.
That’s something one college in North Wales is determined to change. At Coleg Cambria, students can attend the college for up to five years, from Year 10 of secondary school progressing to a Level 3 NVQ in Construction Trades. This prepares them to get an apprenticeship or employment in trade specific areas.
The college recognises the demands from employers within the construction industry and develops literacy and numeracy skills as well as practical trade skills.
Martyn Pearson, Brickwork Lecturer at Coleg Cambria commented: “All of our staff have a wealth of industry experience which gets brought into the classroom and workshop environment. Students also go out on educational visits such as real-life working sites and have ‘Tool Box’ talks with site managers.
“We train up the students so that they are health and safety ready and able to pass a CSCS card test. All units have theory exams and practical tasks attached to the qualification and students must meet industrial standards in order to pass the unit which goes towards achieving the full qualification.”
He added: “There are many employers that provide work placements for students who are on traineeships at college and we have a good partnership with local employers who send their apprentices to the college. Employers regularly come to visit the college on open evenings for example and we have an excellent working relationship with CITB.”
H+H Regional Merchant Manager Matthew Compton regularly visits colleges across the country to demonstrate thin-joint blockwork to students studying towards qualifications in the construction industry. A former apprentice himself, Matthew knows first-hand the benefits construction can bring.
He said: “There are many different paths you can take and the best thing is you get to learn on the job while being paid. Some of the possible career paths can lead to very high-paying jobs so it’s definitely something young people should consider.
“I demonstrate thin-joint blockwork to Level 1, 2 and 3 apprentices and it’s great to see the young people getting stuck in. The practical element makes it more interesting for the students and it’s an element of my job that I really enjoy. It’s also encouraging to see more young women coming in to the industry too.
“H+H manufacture aircrete blocks to supply to the construction industry but we also recognise it’s important to train the next generation so there is a workforce to lay our blocks! There’s no one single solution to getting more young people into construction but going out to colleges and just making people aware of the career options available to them definitely helps.”