The biggest challenge facing the UK construction industry currently is one of shortage of skilled workers, particularly on site where image of the industry is poor and also in construction management where little is known outside of the industry on the career options available. This is particularly true in the South West of England where growth in this sector will outstrip the rest of the UK.
In late 2014 the then Government’s Chief Construction Adviser, Peter Hansford, visited the South West with CESW CEO, Andrew Carpenter, and launched an ‘Adopt a School’ campaign. The idea is for construction related companies to ‘buddy up’ with their local schools to both improve the image of construction and promote it as a good career opportunity. CESW has taken up the challenge and through its Marketing & Communications Forum, chaired by Carol Heneghan of Halsall Construction in Peasedown St John, it has been working to make Peter’s dream a reality.
Through initiatives promoting successful school programmes that are already in place such as the ‘Class of your Own’ initiative, a GCSE programme providing a recognized qualification in the built environment, and the CITB Construction Ambassador scheme CESW members can have an even greater impact on changing perceptions of the industry. CESW is now looking to raise funds to support its own initiative to find eight volunteers from each of its nine ’Best Practice’ clubs to become CITB Ambassadors and promote and facilitate take-up of the Class of Your Own’ programme. Tom Green of SLR Consulting in Bradford on Avon has been providing valuable supporting material by mapping out potential schools and construction buddies particularly targeting schools with focus on STEM subjects.
Andrew’s son, Tom, appeared on BBC One TV’s ‘The Voice’ in January 2015 and in September 2015 Andrew organized a couple of concerts involving his son to help raise the much needed funds and also associate the industry with something more contemporary and therefore hopefully attract young people to enquire about what construction can offer. So successful were these concerts Andrew is taking the idea of associating the construction industry with the of the world of entertainment a step further inasmuch as he now intends to organise a fully staged production of The Producers from 14th – 19th March 2016 at the Merlin Theatre in Frome where he is a Board Member. Andrew says he can’t run marathons or climb mountains but he can put on a good show! He is no stranger to these ‘off the wall’ ideas and famously invited the actual puppets (and actors) from the children’s TV programme Rainbow to present at a business conference in Bristol in 2001 on the subject of supply chain management rather than having an architect and contractor present! The move did the trick as fifteen years on the sector is still taking about the event!
Andrew has invited a director, musical director, choreographer and talented cast & crew from the Frome and Bath area to make his idea a reality. It’s a show he’s wanted to do for many years and so thought he’s put his love of this Mel Brooks’ musical to good use by creating an activity to raise more funds and awareness for the CESW Adopt a School campaign. The production will see NVB Architects of Frome officially ‘buddy up’ with Frome College and the icing on the cake was when Martin Roberts, of BBC TV’s Homes under the Hammer fame joined the CESW Bath Club and agreed to be the patron for the CESW Adopt a School campaign. He will be visiting the Merlin Theatre on Monday 14th March to host the first night performance and make the Frome College/NVB Architects relationship ‘official’.
Martin Roberts is one of the UK’s most respected Property, Travel and Lifestyle TV presenters and journalists. Over the past 25 years he has appeared on BBC TV and Radio, ITV, CNN and Satellite TV Worldwide. He was a regular presenter on ITV’s top rated travel show ‘Wish You Were Here..?’ for 8 years and the travel editor of ‘Woman’ magazine for 15 years.
For over 12 years he has written and presented the hit BBC property auction show ‘Homes under the Hammer’, which is shown on BBC1, UKTV Home and TV Channels Worldwide and is now in its 20th series. He is a respected UK and Overseas Property expert, appearing as expert speaker on programmes such as ‘BBC Breakfast’, ‘BBC News 24’, ‘Sky Sunrise’, ‘Alan Titchmarsh Show’ the Jeremy Vine Show and BBC Radios 2, 4 & 5 Live.
Martin is also Author of the best-selling book Teach Yourself: Making Money from Property and the children’s book series The Villes
To book go to the CESW website: http://cesw.org.uk/events/view?eventid=101