Who will build tomorrow’s homes? NHBC Foundation
Lego for Learners
In support of their report “A Career of Choice – attracting talented young people into house building”, the NHBC Foundation has launched an on-line film using Lego to highlight the benefits of a career for them in the industry. In part it responds to the report highlight that the industry needed to challenge misconceptions in order to recruit new entrants.
According to the ONS, there are currently 20,000 vacancies in the industry, but it is not recruiting anywhere near the number required for either current or future needs. This is especially so when account is taken of the numbers who are and will soon be retiring.
Poor Image & Lack of Information
Finding that young people could identify trades such as bricklaying and plumbing, they were largely unable to technical, professional and management career opportunities. The report also suggested that housebuilding had a poor image, and lacked adequate or appropriate career information. So much so, that forty percent of parents said they would not encourage their children to enter the industry.
The research behind the report was carried out by the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS), Derby University and supported by the Career Development Institute (CDI). It compared the interests of young people in construction with that for other sectors. In summary it found:-
- The interest of boys and young men was broadly on a par with other sectors, exceeding that for banking and financial services. However, girls and young women, saw building and construction as of lowest interest.
- Young people could often identify jobs in house-building trades but, apart from architecture, were largely unable to identify professional job areas.
- Boys and young men showed a good level of interest in careers in a range of practical, technical and managerial job areas in house building. Girls and young women were overall less interested, but nevertheless showed more interest in house-building career options than for careers in construction in general.
- Interest in house-building careers was highest for those at school aged between 14 and 15. Overall levels of interest were only slightly lower among students in sixth form, sixth form college, or college. Those at university had a lower interest in careers in house building, a though generally higher than that for construction in general.
- Exploring the use of positive language about house building, a series of statements, designed to appeal to different emotions, ambitions and outlooks, made many young people more positive about careers in house building.
- Highlighting how information is obtained on possible careers, it emphasised the importance young people place on visits to employers and presentations received at their place of study by visiting advocates and role models.
- Young people rely heavily on parents for guidance and advice on careers. 57% of young people saw their family as the first port of call for a discussion on careers. Furthermore a third regarded their family (which would typically have a limited understanding of house building) as their most valued advisor on careers.
- The majority of career development professionals (55%) surveyed felt they would not be confident in explaining the difference between jobs in house building and those in the wider construction sector.
- The lack of clear information on professional careers in house building was seen as a major barrier to recruitment by many stakeholders who contributed to this research.
Summary of Key Recommendations
- The industry should do more to prioritise the promotion of the careers available in house building, explaining the range of practical, technical, managerial and business improvement opportunities.
- To counter the concern that house building may not provide career structures and may be a dead-end choice, the industry should, whenever possible, stress its career opportunities and flexible career paths.
- House-building recruitment should keep a focus on the things that young people look for in their careers.
- The industry should encourage the development of new and positive narrative on the wider benefits of house building.
- More research is needed to understand what is effective in attracting young people to careers in house building at different stages of their lives and education.
- The industry and Government should develop a careers guidance model that supports the delivery of greater numbers of company visits, role models and advocate speaker visits to educational and training organisations.
- The house-building sector should actively explore the development of creative partnerships with schools and colleges.
- Key websites used by young people to find out about careers should be encouraged to include consistent and influential information about house building as a career.
- More should be done to promote and champion the professional careers in house building to young women.
Careers in Off-Site MMC
An important contribution in meeting the UK’s housing needs will be factory based manufacture of major components for assembly on site. This will transform the way the industry operates, moving many professional skills closer to manufacturing, using advanced computer technologies, like BIM, to envisage, plan and manage project design and operations more closely and accurately than can be done on site. This is already beginning to happen with enlightened prefabrication, where professionals are working alongside production workers to improve and share mutual understanding, while gaining added respect for the knowledge, skills and capabilities that each member of the ‘team’ can contribute. Talk to us about the many career opportunities available.