I feel I should start by saying that this won’t be a blog so much as a sales pitch.
I initially wanted to elaborate further on how construction needs to attract young and talented people to the industry, and how we at Wernick are trying to do this with our Graduate Training Programme. Ultimately though, everyone who might care about a skills shortage in the construction is already well aware of it, and why should graduates worry about an industry they have no intention of joining? So let me start from the beginning, and give you my thoughts on the advantages of a career in construction.
Perhaps the defining aspect of construction is the variety it can offer. To use a terrible cliché; no two days are the same when working in this industry. Different clients, different projects and different obstacles to overcome each day guarantee that your job is never boring.
Aside from the variety in what you’re doing day to day, for someone looking to join the industry there’s an enormous choice of roles you can take up, covering a wide range of skills. Obviously there is an abundance of jobs requiring physical labour, but there’s more to construction than bricklayers and roadworkers. Designers, Quantity Surveyors, Estimators, Engineers, Project Managers, Account Managers, Planners, Contracts Managers – I could go on. Even after all this, there is still room for less construction-specific roles in Finance, IT or Marketing. If you have a skill or interest, the odds are good that the construction industry can use it in some way.
With a wide range of options comes more opportunities to progress. Nowhere is it more evident that hard work pays off than in construction, with CEOs of some of the largest construction firms in the UK having started out right at the bottom. You aren’t limited to only moving upwards though, there are plenty of opportunities to move sideways into other roles. Health and Safety might not have a reputation as the most interesting aspect of construction, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who are drawn to Health and Safety while working in other roles.
Construction is also an innovative industry. While no one could accuse me of using technology for technology’s sake; as the expectations of our customers grow and projects become increasingly complex, we have no choice but to turn to the latest technology to help us design, build and deliver our buildings. This can be anywhere, from the technical office, using the latest developments in Building Information Modelling, to using drones to conduct building surveys. The wider industry can be slow to adopt new technologies (to choose an example completely at random; modular construction?) but that simply leaves more room for potential innovators to have an even greater impact.
I’ll close with a reason that while not as tangible as the others, will hopefully be the most important; job satisfaction. I imagine very little can compare with seeing a project you have worked on come to fruition, and to be able to witness the positive impacts your work has on places, people and communities. From the large construction projects Wernick have supported through on-site accommodation to the schools, community centres and hospitals we have built, I know that for me at least, nothing can rival the satisfaction of knowing you have made such an important and lasting contribution.