Kier devotes 1% of workforce to tackle sector’s ‘recruitment crisis’
Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce to act as career ambassadors in schools and colleges over the next 12 months to help attract new talent into the industry.
The announcement comes after a new report shows that parents have significant concerns about the quality of careers advice on offer to secondary school pupils against a backdrop of declining GCSE results.
Commissioned by the FTSE 250 construction and services giant, the report surveyed 2,000 parents, teachers and careers advisors of children aged 12-18 in the UK state education sector. It found that two thirds of teachers and careers advisors held negative views of the construction industry as a route for their students to pursue and 73% of parents do not want their children to even consider a career in the sector.
More than 80% of parents did not know it was possible to big construction companies to pay for their children’s university degree courses.
The study identified 90% of teachers across the UK are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in the construction sector, with 41% not realising there is an issue at all.
It also found that 54% of teachers and parents believe there is a lack of career progression in construction/the built environment, and associate the industry with being muddy, manual, male dominated and low paid thanks to outdated perceptions. This is despite the fact that the industry provides a wealth of opportunity across all skillsets.
In part, lack of knowledge is being compounded by a lack of detailed careers advice. The report found that over half of pupils (65%) aged 11-13 get no official advice and only a quarter of 13-15 year olds (27%) got ‘one hour, once’ of careers advice.
The report also found that 57% of parents say rising tuition fees put them off encouraging university as an option for their children, yet 81% of parents were unaware that major FTSE companies can pay the cost of a degree course and offer a guaranteed entry point into work upon completion of studies.
With the backing of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Careers & Enterprise Company, Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce to engage with at least 10,000 school pupils, to inform and inspire the next generation.
Haydn Mursell, chief executive of Kier, said: “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects, which equates to £90bn of UK GDP delivery and creates a demand for circa 400,000 new recruits per annum, it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.
“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP. But we also have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice. We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.
“For this reason we are pledging a minimum of 1% of our workforce as Career Ambassadors to work with schools and colleges across the UK, to engage with at least 10,000 pupils over the next 12 months.
“If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”