July saw the end of the academic year, and for us the chance to reflect on our Schools Partnership Programme which we launched in October 2017. It’s been a really exciting year, with the Trust focusing its full attentions on developing the strategy. For those of you who are yet to get involved, the Schools Partnership Programme sees us bring together a consortium of construction employers and other stakeholders to promote the built environment to young people a consistent way, on behalf of the industry as a whole.
With the support of a wide range of industry partners, we have been building relationships with schools and colleges, working with students from Years 7-13 (ages 11-18). Across London and the South East, we have planned bespoke programmes of employer engagement, aligned to different schools' own curriculums and destination plans.
Since the launch of the programme, we have facilitated engagement between over 4000 young people and built environment employers in light-touch engagements. These have included inspiring presentations by industry role models, and providing progression route information at careers fairs.
In the same period, we have engaged over 1000 young people in more intensive workshop-style activities, such as employability skills workshops, practical projects including the renovation of a school pavilion, and class debates on planning issues. These activities have had hugely positive outcomes.
According to evaluation feedback, 98% of students recorded an improvement in their knowledge of the careers in the construction and built environment sector, and 85% of students said they were more interested in careers within the sector after completing a session.
One key outcome of the activities is that students better understand the skills employers look for in employees, and how the subjects they learn in school will help them on their journey to a career. 91% of students said the sessions helped them understand how what they learn in school was useful in the work place, and 87% of students felt the sessions helped them improve their understanding of the skills that employers look for.
The sector’s history of employing a male-dominated, overwhelmingly non-diverse workforce has fostered misconceptions amongst young people about the kind of person who can work in the industry. By utilising a diverse group of industry volunteers, the Trust aim to challenge the stereotypes that young people hold. 74% of students said that the sessions opened their mind to the kind of people who can succeed in a career in the construction and built environment sector.
Influencers (i.e. teachers or careers advisers) who witness the sessions also provide feedback, with 100% of influencers having a positive view of the sessions run by the Trust. 100% of influencers also felt the session improved their own understanding of the construction and built environment sector.
We are delighted with the success of the Schools Partnership Programme so far and have ambitious plans for the new academic year. If you want to get involved in this innovative work, please get in touch with us here.