A positive impact on everything we touch
Over 2000 dedicated people nationwide
Providing critical infrastructure for the UK
A positive impact on everything we touch
Over 2000 dedicated people nationwide
Providing critical infrastructure for the UK

‘When I Grow Up’ Featured in ICE Top Inspiring Books for Children!

27th August 2021

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has recently shared a blog which features  ‘11 inspiring books that teach children about engineering’ – including our very own ‘When I Grow Up’.

Our book, which follows characters Harry and Amy during a careers day at school, was written to address the skills shortage in the industry and educate and inspire young people to consider a career in construction, and is featured alongside ‘Lift-the-Flap Engineering’, ‘How Was That Built? The stories behind awesome structures’, ‘Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines’, ‘My Mummy is an Engineer’ and ‘ What We’ll Build: plans for Our Together Future’ written by acclaimed children’s author Oliver Jeffers.

Each one of the books aims to introduce young people into the world of construction and engineering and as there’s a big crisis facing the construction industry – a skills shortage, which could be incredibly damaging to our sector if we don’t do something about it – it’s crucial that we inspire the next generation and there’s no better way to plant the seed then with a great book.

Our story covers a range of engineering activities and demonstrates to children that without the hard work of those in the construction industry, many other roles would not be possible. The book provides a reference to each of our business units, many of which are also represented in our STEM activity boxes which we created alongside the book to help build greater engagement within the classroom.

To ensure ‘When I Grow Up’ was accessible to everyone we created a narrated animation of the book as well as our first ever video with sign language provided by our own estimator Adam Scattergood. 

So far, since the book launched in March 2020, the campaign has delivered strong results and put us on track to achieve our community target – to engage with at least 5,000 children by 2025 to inspire young people and encourage them to consider the construction industry. Despite the restrictions of Covid-19, the popularity of the book and engagement have surpassed expectations and it has reached thousands of children and the book has accomplished so much, including: 


  • Animated versions of the book have received over 46,000 views on YouTube alone! 


  • Copies sent to Australia 


  • Engaged with over 15 schools 


  • The book has picked up a trio of awards, including: ‘Best Contractor Marketing Campaign’ at the Construction Marketing Awards, Platinum winner at the MUSE Creative Awards and winner of the design and print category at the NYX Marcom Awards.


  • We’ve received supportive comments from industry influencers – including celebrity architect George Clarke, DIY SOS star Billy Byrne and female bricklayer and social media influencer Katie Smith.


  • Teachers have described the book as ‘innovative, entertaining and absorbing’


  • We have extended the narrative and taken the main characters on new adventures to support virtual engagement around key dates (Child Safety Week and Drowning Prevention Week) for homeschooling activities. We also created a  video for children demonstrating how to conduct a water cycle experiment at home using the humble ‘sandwich bag’, to educate and inspire young people to consider a career in STEM.


  • The characters have also been used on the hoardings around our sites, with the messaging: ‘Save Energy, Save Water, Save the Environment, Together we can have a Positive Impact’ to inspire and encourage young people to have a positive impact on the environment.


  • Praise from three UK literacy charities, and becoming part of the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Work: Dream Big programme (as a resource to introduce career options to children)


Rich Smith, Business Development Director and author of our award-winning book said: “We’re so happy to see our free resource featured alongside so many big hitters in this list from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). One of the biggest challenges we face is that people don’t fully understand the vast job opportunities that our sector offers. There is also a stereotype that it’s a male dominated industry. We wanted to address these issues in a fun yet engaging way and inspire children as young as possible before they’ve even decided or thought about what they want to do for a career. Thanks to everyone who is helping to spread our message and inspire the next generation to shape our future.”

The book is available for free in order to spread the message as widely as possible to the next generation. However, if anybody wants to support our fundraising for our corporate charity partner Mind, they can make a donation by following this link: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/nmcn4mind.

For further information or to request a copy of the book, email: info@nmcn.com or you can watch the animated version here.

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