Birmingham Construction Careers Week

Birmingham Construction Careers Week is confirmed! From Monday 9th to Saturday 14th October, businesses across the region will be providing careers encounters for hundreds of young people

Birmingham is booming, and we need to support local young people to consider careers in construction. And we have a great opportunity that will see the construction sector offered priority for supporting local schools with employer engagement

The skills shortage continues to pose a significant problem for the sector…

A lack of skilled workers across the sector remains an issue in the Midlands construction market, according to new research. The RICS Construction Market Survey, covering the final quarter of 2016, suggests skill shortages were the most notable across the Midlands in this period. This quarter, 75 per cent of respondents highlighted this to be an issue – the highest figure since 2007, the report said.” Birmingham Post, 6 February 2017


“House builder Redrow surveyed 2,000 parents and school-age children and 147 of its own apprentices ahead of National Apprenticeship Week and found that 50% of young people questioned answered “no” when asked if information on careers in construction had ever been discussed with them verbally by a teacher or had been made readily available in careers literature.” Construction Manager, 6 March 2017

Something clearly has to change. The not-surprising-at-all result of a lack of careers support is a shortage of skilled workers. Luckily, careers and enterprise support across the UK is changing

And I am your Birmingham Enterprise Coordinator for Construction!

As you may know, the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) was established by government 18 months ago to create lasting connections between local businesses and the schools and colleges in the area, delivering exposure to the world of work for all.

This programme is already in place across much of the country, and Birmingham is one of the last areas to start

The CEC’s Enterprise Advisor Network bridges the gap between education and employers by pairing individual volunteer Enterprise Advisors with a school or college to help build a strategic employer engagement plan. Even if you already have a good relationship with school, you will need to become part of that school’s strategic employer engagement plan, delivered by the school’s appointed Enterprise Advisor

CEC already have more than 1,500 Enterprise Advisors in place across the country, and they have provided careers opportunities for over a million young people. Enterprise Advisors are matched with schools by Enterprise Coordinators, who take responsibility for all the schools in an area. Enterprise Coordinators also create a calendar of local events and activities to ensure young people have as many careers encounters as possible. You can see more here –

But I need your help

In most regions, the Local Enterprise Partnership has taken responsibility for delivering CEC’s requirements locally. However, in Birmingham this is being delivered by Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), overseen by Director of Operations, John Garrett. BEP has taken the approach to appoint Enterprise Coordinators matched to priority sectors – Construction, Professional Services, Digital and Retail.

Because the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP are not delivering this programme directly (and therefore not providing staff time as their contribution to match funding), BEP and Enterprise Coordinators must match-fund the government’s investment themselves before any work can begin. Digital and Professional Services have already secured their match-funding from their own local employer base. Now it’s construction’s turn to contribute £12,500 match-funding

This amount does not need to be covered by one organisation – in fact, it would probably be much more beneficial to receive support from employers across the construction sector. I’m aiming to secure the £12,500 from 25 employers by the end of March 2017.

So let’s tackle the construction skills shortage properly. If this sounds like a worthwhile use of £500 of your hard-earned cash, let’s arrange a time to meet and chat it through.