As part of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce Work, educational charity Class of Your Own ran a short survey to gather views of teachers and students in years 8 to 11 from schools in the London area on their views and understanding of careers in construction and sustainability.  The survey highlights some concerning gaps in understanding, but despite this close to 40% of students are interested in careers in construction, with 10% stating that they want to be an architect/engineer or tradesperson.

The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce was set up to support the aims of the City Corporation’s radical Climate Action Strategy which commits to net-zero carbon emissions across the City Corporation’s operations by 2027, and to support the achievement of net zero for the Square Mile by 2040.  Over 300 organizations have joined the ‘Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce,’ including designers, construction firms, and education providers.

This survey formed part of this work.  Headline findings included:

  • 70% of students and 82% of teachers had no idea that nearly 10% of the UK working population are employed in the construction sector
  • 37% of students surveyed are interested in a career in construction
  • 50% of students are very or extremely worried about climate change
  • 25% of students said that climate change will impact future choice of subject they will study and career
  • 45% of teachers and 30% of students rated their familiarity with careers in construction at 1 or 2 out of 5
  • 10% of students responded that they want to be an architect / engineer or tradesperson
  • The vast majority of teachers (76%) and students (72%) feel they would benefit from local employer involvement in understanding qualification choices and career options in construction

Commenting on the research Iain McIlwee, FIS CEO and Chair of the working group looking at Barriers for Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce stated:

“There are some worrying numbers in this research, but no surprises and room for optimism.  The key stats to hang on to are that close to 40% of students would consider a career in construction and10% are planning to join the industry.  This is something to build on and, whilst knowledge of careers in the sector fall short of what we want, there are signs that teachers and students are open to better direct engagement from employers.

A key challenge is that schools and educational authorities have a fragmented and inconsistent approach to advising on careers – this is an area we need to lobby for change.  In the interim it is beholden on us to redouble our efforts to deliver consistent and joined up information that is well targeted and helps students make informed decisions.
I am excited about the opportunity to work with the City of London to help improve the way industry and education are working together and deliver positive messages about construction so that we can encourage more young people to look in our direction and join us in rebuilding a Sustainable London.”

To help encourage entrants, FIS sponsored a free prize draw where a teacher and student receive a £50 Amazon Voucher.  The teacher price was won by Mr Brown, a Maths and PSHE Teacher from John F Kennedy Catholic School in Hertfordshire.  The winning student was Joseph Cameron from Fulham Cross Academy (pictured with Head of Sixth Form, Alan Jones).

Alison Watson MBE Founder and Chief Executive at Class Of Your Own Limited stated: “It’s great to join forces with such like-minded organisations. Only through collaboration can we bridge the knowledge gap between classrooms and the construction industry, dispelling myths and igniting interest in sustainable careers. By equipping students and teachers with real-world insights, we can show that construction is a dynamic field where STEM, digital skills and climate action intersect.”

Building on this and the wider work of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce, The City of London Corporation has released a new report urging investment in workers to meet the growing demand for green jobs and skills in decarbonizing the city’s commercial buildings.  Phase 2 of the Taskforce work is to develop an Action Plan to respond to the research with impactful interventions and an industry engagement campaign to promote reskilling and upskilling among the existing workforce, and raising career awareness amongst Londoners, including those from underrepresented backgrounds.

You can read the full Skyline Skills Recommendation report here