Whilst conducting research for my dissertation, I was surprised to find such a lack of interest in the Construction Industry when surveying a range of female students. What was surprising was not that they did not know anything about the built environment, but that despite not knowing anything about it, they branded it boring. They also declared they did not like it and they were not "good" at it.
The question is, good at what exactly? When we are in a situation where the next generation of workers are not even slightly interested by the industry and the skills gap is ever increasing we need to find ways to break down what the industry can offer and why it could be great for these young women.
According to a recent report by The Construction Skills Network (CSN), the UK’s most comprehensive construction forecast, predicts growth of 1.7% over the next five years, with 179,000 jobs to be created – a better outlook than was predicted immediately after the EU referendum. What this means is we have a lot of jobs being created and no where near the number of skilled workers required. We need to do more to encourage the next generation to consider Construction as a career choice.
Perhaps next time you're in a situation where you can give some advice and you're told, I'm not good at construction, maybe you could ask one whether they are any "good" at any of these...
1. Good at maths? whilst maths lessons at school were often a bore, for some maths is easy and interesting. For them consider engineering.
2. Good at being creative? If this is more up your street then how about architecture, interior design or again engineering. Or perhaps a trade, painting or carpentry/joinery?
3. Good with people? If you are a people person, how about Construction management, Project management or Business Development?
4. Good with details? If you have an eye for detail then Quantity Surveying or planning could be the choice for you.
5. Good with your hands? If you don't like the idea of being stuck behind a desk all day then consider a trade. Electrician, plumber, carpenter and many more trades are available. A way in to this is through an apprenticeship, something that the government is pushing and increasing the number of this year.
These are just a few career options after thinking about what you might be "good" at. There are so many different roles within the industry that require a range of different skills, so suggesting you are not good at construction is crazy. It is an industry worth exploring with a number of routes in. It may be that you know someone who is struggling to choose a career, who may need some guidance. Chances are she hasn't considered construction, so why not give her a nudge!