In November St Modan's High School's ‘Build Your Future’ week inspired over 1100 young people to expand their horizons as they consider their future careers. Organised by the school in collaboration with local business partners, Stirling Council, Skills Development Scotland and DYW Forth Valley, it allowed young people from every year group to explore the world of work by examining career pathways linked to every curricular area.
Recent figures from the Construction Industry Training Body (CITB) show that the Scottish construction industry will need 21,000 new entrants at all levels from apprentices to graduates over the next 10 years just to meet current demand. Pupils took part in a variety of activities and workshops to help equip them for the wide range of opportunities available within the growing Scottish construction sector. The week's programme also extended across Forth Valley with pupils from 11 other schools benefiting from visiting the school to take part in some of the activities on offer.
The event was designed to deconstruct the myths of the construction industry, which supports roles such as lawyers, accountants, designers, ecologists and software designers.
Linda Soutar from Construction Scotland’s 'Inspiring Construction' programme, said: "Construction is a tremendously exciting industry that is about so much more than just hard hats and high-vis vests. Our 'Inspiring Construction' programme aims to attract more school leavers to join the sector by letting them know about the huge and diverse range of careers available, and importantly, how to access them. From engineering and surveying, to 3D visualisation, not to mention the more traditional trades such as joinery, I hope this event has demonstrated that this industry really does have a career to suit everyone."
After visiting the school Mr Swinney said: “The construction industry is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships and the ‘Build Your Future’ event highlights the many opportunities available, from working to build new infrastructure, increase exports or reduce carbon emissions. I have met so many enthusiastic young people here at St Modan’s who are interested in the range of skills and specialisms available in construction and how they can prepare to enter the industry.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney with Caradh Pert (Deputy Head Teacher of St Modan's) and Ray O'Neill ( Headteacher of St Modan's)
Ray O’Neill, Headteacher at St Modan’s High School, said: “St Modan’s High School is committed to developing the young workforce through supporting our young people to achieve their full potential, expand their horizons and to develop skills for life, learning and work. It is important that our young people are fully aware of the range of career pathways open to them from Higher and Further Education to Modern Apprenticeships and Graduate Apprenticeships. The ‘Build Your Future’ event has been born out of the clear commitment of the construction industry to move beyond one-off engagements to developing initiatives which have the potential to have a long-term impact on young people. We are very grateful for the commitment, shown by Construction Scotland, Contract Scotland, CITB and DYW Forth Valley, to making this event happen.”
Other highlights of an action-packed week were a focus on the importance of literacy and numeracy in the working environment, insight from local authors and social media experts, and a glimpse into the hospitality industry.
Councillor Susan McGill, Convener of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “I was delighted to be at St Modan’s for this exciting event to see how our young people are developing important skills for a key industry in Scotland. There are diverse employment opportunities in the Stirling area, and through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, we have big plans to increase opportunities for work in areas such as the digital industry, construction and hospitality. We are committed to ensuring as many young people as possible in Stirling achieve their potential after leaving school, and developing skills and gaining work experience at innovative events like this is a great way to start the journey into employment. Huge congratulations to all the staff at the school for their hard work in putting together such a fantastic and wide-ranging week-long event.”
Kelly Stirling, Managing Consultant for Contract Scotland, said: “As Scotland’s largest and longest established recruiter of Technical and Professional staff within the Construction industry, we are passionate about playing our part in educating young people, their families and teachers of the wide variety of choices available to them in this sector. We truly believe Construction is at the heart of all communities and there are fantastic career options for everyone within this industry.”
Jen Henderson, DYW Forth Valley Programme Manager, said: “Employers increasingly recognise the need to invest earlier in the future workforce, and with DYW activity gaining momentum in all schools nationally, DYW Forth Valley is excited to work in partnership with such a large number of local partners to support young people to better understand and consider the careers and opportunities available within construction. This week-long programme is the first of its kind, and we hope it is the beginning of a number of similar events across Forth Valley covering different sectors.”
If you are an employer or industry body who would like to explore supporting a sector based event like 'Build Your Future' within a Forth Valley school please contact us via our contact form or call us on 01259 726690.
Note: Scotland’s construction sector and its supply chain employs over 170,000 people – 10 per cent of the Scottish workforce - with up to a further 60,000 self-employed workers. It contributes £21.5bn to Scotland’s GDP, and makes up 10 per cent of Scotland’s (Gross Value Added). For every £1 spent on construction output, a further £2.94 is generated in the economy