Housebuilding Degrees: Enhancing the Status of Construction
The UK construction industry has been suffering a severe skills shortage for years. Every year fewer young people choose a career in construction and this is causing the sector some major issues. But with Redrow’s recent announcement to rollout housebuilding degrees from September, will this help recruit more youngsters?
Sadly, our young people are simply not choosing professions in the building industry. According to YouGov Omnibus research, only 3% of young people aged between 18-24 have searched for a job in construction. And according to Reuters, the UK needs to take on 400,000 new people each year to build all the new homes we will need.
Why is Construction not Being Chosen?
It’s possible that a career in construction is just too outdoorsy for many young people. Maybe our digital natives prefer the idea of office-based trades in technology – daily jobs involving digital? After all, they were born into a digital world and construction is one of the UK’s least digitised industries.
It’s also possible that society has painted a poor picture of the construction industry to our young people, presenting it as a lesser choice, unstable and low status. Manual jobs have long been looked down on. And many wrongly assume that if the job involves a trowel, rather than a suit and tie, it requires less skill and intelligence — so young people set their sights on a white-collar role in a warm office.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most careers in construction require a diverse skill set, from a strong mathematical ability to an eye for design.
We need young people to choose construction to build tomorrow’s sustainable accommodation, to create space for a growing population and to discover better ways of doing things. We need the house builders, the creative thinkers and those willing to choose a trowel over a suit and tie. And we need them to know it’s not a lesser choice.
Will Housebuilding Degrees Help?
Redrow announced last month they will be launching a housebuilding degree from September. Due to be delivered by Liverpool John Moores University and Coleg Cumbria, the three-year degree course will cover health and safety, building quality, project management, mathematics, law and economics. As with all other degrees, assessment will take the form of coursework, examinations and a dissertation in the final year.
Group HR Director at Redrow and Non-Executive Director at the Construction Industry Training Board, Karen Jones, stated: “The housebuilding sector has a real opportunity to innovate the way we develop and deliver skills training to ensure colleagues can fulfil their potential and progress in their careers. […] This is why we are working with Coleg Cambria and Liverpool John Moores University to deliver the UK’s first dedicated Housebuilding Degree. Participants on the course will be able to learn while they earn and develop the skills necessary to rise through the ranks in the housebuilding sector. […] We believe this new programme will encourage people to enter the sector, as well as imparting crucial skills on those already in the workforce.”
Many people in the industry have welcomed the initiative as a great way to boost the status of a career in building. By making housebuilding a degree level occupation and therefore more professional, standards can only improve and its status can only go up. And this has got to be a good thing for everyone — builders, homeowners and the industry as a whole.
Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to continuously look to improve standards. Higher standards mean a better quality product or service. And a better quality product or service means the enhanced status of your company.
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