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Construction in Action - Hampshire County Council and Mansells

It is widely acknowledged that the construction industry generally has a poor profile and that more needs to be done to encourage young people to choose one of the many exciting and varied career opportunities that exist. In the South East region alone, the construction industry predicts an additional average requirement of 11,710 people per year in the four years until 2010.

For National Construction Week staff from the Property Services function of Hampshire County Council decided to rise to the challenge of attracting new people in to the industry, by organising a vibrant and participative event. The event was entitled “Construction in Action” and was held on the site of Henry Beaufort School over a four day period during NCW. The event was developed in partnership with Mansell Construction and sought to raise broad awareness of the industry through a series of interactive workshops for young people.

The Construction in Action event was themed around the development of the Winchester Discovery Centre (formally Winchester library). Students from Henry Beaufort, along with A level students from Hampshire 6th form colleges were provided with an opportunity to experience the various stages of the project from the perspective of many of the professional and technical staff involved in the scheme. From the initial planning stage, through a virtual walkthrough of the building , the students were provided with a unique opportunity to view the project from the perspective of the many individuals involved.

The Event culminated in an opportunity for the students to “have a go” at many of the professions and trades which were represented at the event. From Landscape Architecture, Land Survey, Asbestos Surveying, Engineering and Interior Design, to bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and electrical installation, there was something there for everyone. Feedback has confirmed that the students had an interesting and informative day, with several students expressing a keen interest in finding out more about some of the careers which were promoted and specifically the Inspire Scholarship programme.

Inspire is a new scheme which is operated by CITB Constructionskills in association with some of the UK’s top Construction companies. It has been created to encourage a higher number and quality of construction related degree applicants and to address the problem of insufficient numbers of work-ready construction graduates. Inspire provides each student with up to £9,000 in funding over the duration of their learning. In addition, students each have a specific industry sponsor who undertakes to monitor progress and offer a ten week structured work experience placement in the first year of training. In October 2006 Property Services confirmed three scholarship offers for students Charlotte Mace, Tom Ellams, and James Hallworth who are pursuing degrees in Engineering, Building and Estates Surveying. The Inspire scheme offers the department with a low risk opportunity to address future skills shortages in hard to recruit professional and technical job roles. Whilst there is no guarantee that scholars will go on to become employees of the County Council this would certainly be our aspiration! back