Leaders in construction and civil engineering helped to inspire the next generation of civils specialists at a ground-breaking secondary school event at The Manchester College.
More than 200 14 and 15 year olds from 11 Manchester schools took part in an interactive, two day Civil Engineering Experience Event at the College’s Openshaw campus, which explored the wide range of careers available in construction and civil engineering.
The event was instigated and sponsored by Jack Rowley Managing Director of CPUK Civils and Remediation and developed in partnership with Novus and The Manchester College (Schools Liaison Team), alongside the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and machine simulation expert Tenstar.
Students enjoyed a series of interactive activities, including trying out Tenstar’s plant simulators and virtual reality headsets. Diggers, dumpers, traffic management and surveying equipment filled the College campus, and a range of other construction companies including Tarmac, Balfour Beatty, Lendlease and AECOM, explained the broad range of careers options and pathways.
The construction and civil engineering sector is facing a skills shortage and this event, thought to be the largest of its kind in the region, is part of a growing effort to raise awareness of the opportunities that exist for young people.
Jack Rowley, who heads CPUK Civils and Remediation and led on the event, said: “Recent research in Greater Manchester has highlighted a potential worrying shortfall in the number of civil engineers, civil engineering operatives and plant operatives, describing it as a key challenge facing construction companies and developers in the region.
“We have to meet that challenge and it means reaching out to young people from a variety of backgrounds to ensure we are recruiting from as wide a talent pool as possible. We have work to do to open up the sector to women in particular.”
Paul Pritchard, Employment Broker North West for Novus, said: “We recognise there is a massive skills gap, both regionally and nationally, in engineering and construction. Employers are asking us how we can support that agenda, so collaboratively we have been working with agencies such as CITB, CECA and LTE Group, and regional, national and multinational organisations, to put on this event. We’ve had some great participation from schools across Greater Manchester.”
Wendy Osborn, Partnership Manager in the North West for CITB, said: “Construction and infrastructure projects are playing a major role in economic growth in Greater Manchester.
“Construction offers some amazing and well-paid career options for young people and adults considering retraining. It’s essential that construction companies and education providers work together to promote these opportunities and inspire young people.
“We are very proud to support the collaboration between these companies, The Manchester College and Tenstar.”
Guy Lawson, director at CECA said: “This is the first event of its kind in Greater Manchester to encourage young people into the civil engineering and plant sector.”