As we celebrate World Youth Skills Day today, we speak to our customer and community engagement manager Charlotte Crake about how nmcn works with children in early years education, right through to students at university. We help the next generation gain insight into and develop skills for the construction industry.
As part of our Positive Impact Plan, our mission is to invest in the communities in which we work and live. We want to create a lasting legacy and inspire those who are considering their futures to become an integral part of the construction industry. Currently we are working hard to adapt to a more virtual way of working in light of Covid-19.
Charlotte said: “Our outreach starts with children in foundation stage at school, right the way through to university and beyond. We engage with young people across the country and have worked with communities as far apart as Plymouth, Leeds, Warrington, Nottingham and Wales, to name a few!
“We have a big focus on secondary schools as it’s a critical time in a young person’s life. It’s when they start thinking about their GCSEs, A Levels and career opportunities. We explain to them what a career in construction looks like and the many benefits of choosing this industry. We take along members of our team so they can hear first-hand all of the positives about the sector.”
A big challenge for Charlotte and her team is removing the stigma about construction. She added: “The industry has so many opportunities to offer with lots of different job roles available. A common myth is that the industry isn’t for women, but many work across varying roles throughout our business. From site managers, to construction staff, to department heads, to members of the board – therefore totally quashing that stereotype.
“One of the things we do when we visit schools is look at the salary of what is thought of as a ‘traditional women’s’ role, such as an office manager, and compare it to the salary of a construction office manager to show people that there are lots of financial prospects in the industry.
“We also set projects and tasks for students. During group work we assign people roles, such as project managers or designers. This gives them an insight into the types of careers available and helps them understand what skills they need to develop for a future in that role.
“For our work with foundation stage children, we give them a construction set consisting of mini cones, signs, hard hats, hi-vis jackets, a copy of our children’s book When I Grow Up and things like sand so they can feel new textures – which is good for their sensory learning.”
Like the rest of the country, nmcn are now looking at ways to adapt their work to reflect the current climate. Charlotte added: “We’re adopting a virtual approach for our work. Previously, we have focussed on delivering it in person, however, there are a lot more opportunities as you can reach more people online.
“We’re looking at creating ‘bubble packs’ which will contain everything that we would have taken into schools, and a teacher’s workbook – the packs are linked to the national curriculum so it’s relevant to what they’re delivering, supporting what they’re already doing. We want to make it as easy as possible for schools to continue developing their students’ skills and help prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow.
“Our plan now is to move beyond schools and outreach to people in their homes. We’re looking at things like educational videos for YouTube, Tik Tok and other platforms. Content that is easy to access, educational, but fun as well.
“More than ever, different strands of our Positive Impact Plan are coming together and we’re really excited to be able to think differently and flexibly to support communities.”
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