Building industry awareness for the next generation
Blog, General News

Building industry awareness for the next generation

The construction and manufacturing industries are key to the future growth of the UK economy and both play integral roles in shaping, and improving, our built environment. But in such a highly skilled sector, what happens when the experience and expertise just isn’t there anymore? In our latest blog, we take a closer look at why bridging the construction industry skills gap is a project that we all need to work together to deliver.

Challenges to overcome

The UK Trade Skills Index 2023 report highlights the key challenges that the UK construction sector is facing and presents some facts and figures that really put the widening skills gap into perspective. One of the most sobering statics is that one third of the current workforce is over the age of 50 and are likely to retire in the next decade. That means that time is literally running out to attract, train and retain the next generation of talent.

There is of course lots of work to be done in increasing the number of apprenticeships in the construction industry but what if conversations around pursuing a career in construction could start even earlier? What if we could reach younger children and show them the many different roles that are available? What if, rather than being an after-thought, working in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industry was at the forefront of their minds when it came to choosing what and how to study? Here at Senior we believe that this presents a real opportunity and that’s exactly why we went back to school…

The Better Learners Better Workers Programme

We have recently become involved with the Better Learners Better Workers Programme, an innovative scheme which was founded by The Cutlers’ Company, a prestigious association of engineering and manufacturing companies in South Yorkshire. The Company, which our very own managing director Mark Wadsworth is a member of, established the programme back in 2010 and since then it has grown in size and scope, with several employers and schools across the region working together to give children an informative and practical introduction into various career options. As a leading manufacturer and partner to the construction industry, Senior has been at the forefront of innovation for the last 30 years so when the opportunity arose, we were delighted to get involved and share our expertise.

We are currently working with a local secondary school – Sir Thomas Wharton Academy, which is based nearby in Doncaster, only a stone’s throw from our main UK manufacturing facility in Denaby. To support the school’s participation in the Better Learners Better Workers Programme we have been working directly with students from Year 9 and Year 10 to give them a hands-on and real-life view of what working in the fenestration sector and wider construction industry could look like. Various members of our team have been involved so far, including our MD Mark and our technical director Mark Wheatley, and we’ve run several interactive and fun sessions to promote problem-solving and creative thinking. The response has been fantastic and with so much energy and interest on show from the students, it is clear that taking construction into the classroom has clear benefits.

Building on this foundation

As our work with the staff and students at Sir Thomas Wharton Academy continues, we are always looking at other ways to fly the flag for a future career in the construction industry at a grass-roots level. Whether this is supporting our main contractor customers with their own initiatives by donating products and sharing our technical expertise, or organising interactive schemes for local children like our Design-A-Den competition, we are keen to keep the conversations around careers in construction open and ongoing.

With that mind, we are encouraging a wider discussion about how we all can address the construction industry skills shortage on Aluminium Day – our dedicated annual social media event that will take place across our various channels on March 13th 2024. Have you got an apprenticeship success story? Have you launched a recent initiative to help support younger people in choosing a career in construction? Do you have strong opinion on what the industry should, or shouldn’t, do to bridge the skills gap? If so we want to hear from you – look out for the dedicated Aluminium Day content across Senior’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and X, and join the conversation using the #AluminiumDay hashtag.

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