News & Insights

Rebuilding our communities in a post-lockdown landscape

INSIGHTS

By David Rowsell, area director, Northern Home Counties, Morgan Sindall Construction

As the UK enters a significant period of post lockdown uncertainty, future proofing communities by creating viable employment options is an essential next step to securing sustainable economic growth.

The UK construction sector has a key role to play in this journey. We need to work innovatively to engage, upskill, and retrain people who may be exploring new career options and looking to re-employ valuable skills they have learned elsewhere.

In an industry that has historically experienced significant skills shortages, this shift in approach offers a real opportunity to build resilience into our supply chain. A new flow of experienced people with valuable transferable skills gained from other sectors into the industry has the potential to provide a positive boost to the UK’s construction sector – strengthening our supply chain and helping to narrow the skills gap, while providing people with rewarding new career paths.

There are a range of different approaches Morgan Sindall Construction use which will support the industry and the economy to reach out and engage with this pool of candidates who have a huge amount to offer.

We’re also a proud partner of the Construct a Career campaign for unemployed people from local areas with an interest in construction. It is designed to provide a clearly defined route into the construction industry by providing skills training, work experience and qualifications for people who are interested in working in this field, but don’t currently have the qualifications to do so. We’ve recently completed a Construct a Career program at our Civic Centre Opportunity Site South project; we delivered it alongside our client, St Albans District Council for unemployed local people, supporting our communities and creating new opportunities across our region.

The New Apprentice

The role of apprenticeships will also be increasingly key to engaging with new groups of job seekers.

Apprenticeships are no longer just about young people. With many industries undergoing significant, potentially long-term change, creating new ways of educating and upskilling people looking to transfer skills and enter new markets is essential. In the longer term, apprenticeships that respond to this need will be an important driver in getting people back into work.

At Morgan Sindall Construction, we continue to see apprenticeships playing a hugely valuable role in getting the Construction sector in the UK back to optimum employment levels and creating new opportunities in rewarding construction careers.

The next generation

In this new landscape, it’s crucial that we adopt more innovative processes to reboot the UK’s workforce and explore new channels and approaches to engage and support young people interested in a career in the industry.

Strengthening the connection between the sector and schools and colleges enables young people to get a better understanding of the industry and what it has to offer and we’re passionate about opening out these opportunities to enquiring young minds.

Our teams across the Northern Home Counties are working to enhance our engagement with schools and colleges throughout the region - creating more opportunities for children and young people and opening up positive dialogue between us. Through working with members of our site teams we are raising aspirations about careers the construction sector can offer.

We have developed exceptional creative responses to the current situation and the COVID 19 environment to improve the quality of our engagement with young people. Our teams across the country have been reaching out to schools and colleges to engage students using virtual engagement tools including webinars, fly throughs, video modelling and 3D simulations. We have developed a programme of virtual work experience and project activity as an immersive experience to create as rich and real an experience as possible for youngsters keen to learn more about the sector.

Engagement with organisations including Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC) has seen our team working on programmes to share experience and knowledge by delivering seminars on CAD and other specialist industry practice, bringing their real world insight and experience to the classroom – we look forward to transitioning this work to a virtual platform.

By developing and building on existing partnerships, we are creating the infrastructure needed to engage with young people and provide the training and mentoring needed to reboot the UK’s construction workforce. We look forward to taking our supply chain partners with us on this journey. It is crucial that this activity encompasses our partners and suppliers – creating a positive impact, building resilience and supporting skill development and job creation.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, there are many unknowns, but one thing we can be sure of is that there has never been a better time for reflection and potential recalibration of how we engage with people keen to enter the construction sector.

Morgan Sindall Construction is continuing to commit to social enterprise procurement because we view them as an integral component of the UK’s economic recovery. Over the last three months social enterprises have played a significant role in supporting local communities. That role is likely to grow, particularly those that deal with job creation and employment support.

Embedding social enterprises in supply chains provides them with reliable revenues and market presence, thereby expanding their activities to achieve maximum social value impact for all stakeholders.

Looking ahead, we have a great opportunity to open out the sector, make people aware of the great career opportunities it holds, and create new pathways and engagement models to ensure we’re giving people the skills and support they need to enter our industry and contribute to getting the UK back on its feet.

  • For more information about this news release please contact Ruth Cobban at Influential on 07814 556 567 or email cobban@thisisinfluential.com
  • Note: Photograph taken before Covid-19 and lockdown regulation