Big hitters in the construction industry are working on a major new collaboration aimed at promoting the UK construction industry to secondary school children.
Specialist firm the School Outreach Company is working with senior sector figures on plans to raise £100,000 with the aim of creating a network of five regional steering groups led by construction firms.
Under the emerging plan, each of the regional bodies would collaborate on a bespoke strategy to promote the sector and bust some of the negative myths held by young people.
A spokesperson for the School Outreach Company told Construction News: “Schools outreach in the construction industry is happening at the moment, but it is uncoordinated and very often company-specific.
“This new approach would see large and small firms collaborate to raise the profile of the sector as a whole.
“Regions might decide to take slightly different approaches. For instance, some might want to target schools that are currently receiving little or no engagement, whereas some might want to focus on boosting activity in schools where engagement from firms is already happening.”
Initial plans would see regions and steering groups set up in Scotland, the North of England, the Midlands, Wales and the South West plus London and the South East, with a minimum of four firms per region.
Organisers are hoping to launch the scheme in time for the start of the 2023/24 academic year in September.
They are asking for support from construction firms up and down the supply chain. They also need firms to get involved in helping to run the steering groups.
The School Outreach Company spokesperson said: “It only costs £40 to provide a school with a number of interactions throughout the academic year. If we collectively raise £100,000 then that gives the construction industry the ability to connect with over 2,000 secondary schools and colleges – about half of the total number throughout the UK.”
An initial summit attended by tier one contractors and other construction firms held in January in London discussed the skills challenges facing the industry and the plans for collaboration.
At the meeting, Balfour Beatty provisionally donated £5,000 towards the School Outreach Company scheme, a sum understood to have been matched by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
A spokesperson for Balfour Beatty said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting this initiative pending the final proposal from the School Outreach Company.”
Under legislation, the CITB’s remit is officially restricted to focusing on the section of the population over school-leaving age, but it also runs the Go Construct website aimed at promoting construction careers.
The School Outreach Company delivers online and face-to-face engagement with 96 per cent of UK secondary schools on behalf of companies and sectors including information and communications technology.
It has recently worked with the Home Builders Federation and Barratt Developments on school-outreach events in the housebuilding sector.
Firms wishing to find out more about the construction sector’s school-outreach initiative should contact email@example.com.