How a graduates view of the construction industry changed
Around three months ago I joined the construction industry, having graduated from university, and was looking for my first stepping stone into the world of full-time employment. Did I think that construction would be my chosen career path? Definitely not! Nobody was more surprised than me to choose construction, as like most young people, I had developed a number of misconceptions of the industry. It was only until I joined Fabrick when I realised how wrong I really was and it made me think that if construction is to attract the younger generation, then those of us who are loving the experience should speak up and help change perceptions to solve the recruitment problem.
My perception of the industry before Fabrick
I suppose that in truth, I never really considered the construction industry as being a world I wanted to be part of. I wasn’t going to get any guidance from my dad, who is the world’s worst handyman, and I don’t recall learning anything about it in school. My perception of the industry was that it was dirty, hard work, not very glamorous and certainly not very exciting. I also believed that you could only work within the industry if you were practical and good with your hands, and being someone who has failed at building a simple Lego set, I didn’t think the industry was for me. As with many preconceptions, my opinion was based on ignorance. When I look back, I reflect that it was a lack of education. I was never made aware of the different career paths available within the industry and the huge number of opportunities that are out there.
My perception of the industry now, what has changed?
Three months at Fabrick has totally changed my mind. I have learnt loads about the construction world and am excited to learn more. The thing that has really struck me is the variety of projects that are going on out there and the army of people, all with different skills and abilities, who are involved in making things happen. So, from thinking that the construction world was boring, I am now here writing this blog and on my other screen I am viewing an architect’s website. I am scrolling through their website being blown away and fascinated by some of the amazing projects they have completed, and to think I thought the industry couldn’t be glamorous! Like most things in life I guess, a greater understanding of something can fundamentally change your perceptions.
What I feel the industry needs to do to attract the younger generation.
So, what can the construction industry do to attract the younger generation? To me it is simple. The industry needs to educate young people and change their perceptions of construction. The place to do this is schools and there needs to be a drive to showcase the industry to young people and demonstrate how working within it can be a viable and exciting career choice. There are vast amounts of roles and opportunities available; from tradespeople, to architects, to surveyors, to engineers, to marketing and PR. There are careers for all types of people, whether they are creative, practical, or technical. And this needs to be communicated to the younger generation, because it definitely wasn’t when I was in education.
Students at schools will develop interests and these are normally based on the subjects they are studying. Therefore, there needs to be a push to show how young people’s interest, such as science, technology, engineering and math’s can be used for construction and highlight the different careers that would be available to them. Another way to attract the younger generation is for greater industry engagement. Construction organisations need to do their bit to engage with students and inspire these individuals. This can be done through meetings, work experience, taster days, site visits, career talks and more. My memory from school is that career talks from industry professionals were highly educational and inspiring.
Another way to showcase the industry to the younger generations could be to use social media, using platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram as they are increasingly popular among the younger generations. Advertisements and regular content could be produced to show young people enjoying construction work, the different career paths that are available and the diversity of the industry. This will help inspire the next generation to pursue a career within construction and move away from the misconceptions they have developed.
The industry needs to grab the attention of young people and show them what is out there in the world of construction.