The CITB supports the skills needs of the UK construction sector. As well as supporting training and development for individual companies, it takes a strategic overview of the construction industry as a whole. One of the identified issues is how to attract and encourage a wide range of individuals to consider and enter the construction industry. It was considered there was a lack of evidence and understanding of which pre-employment construction industry initiatives are most effective, who they attract, and what impact they have on individuals, employers, and the industry as a whole. Traverse were commissioned to carry out research to:
• Explore the range of existing pre-employment initiatives, in the construction industry and analogous industries such as engineering.
• Understand what challenges the initiatives were designed to address.
• Understand how they are implemented e.g. focusing on work experience; knowledge training; or other approaches.
• Understand what impact these initiatives have on individuals, employers, and, if possible, society in general.
• Identify success factors and barriers to success.
Traverse initially carried out desk research to identify pre-employment initiatives already in place in the construction industry and analogous sectors. Once these were identified we reviewed them according to elements such as: location, sector, employer, category, target group and so on. This allowed us to identify a short list of initiatives for field work. We carried out 50 interviews with:
• Training Providers
• Participants / trainees
• Federations / employer representative bodies
We used these to develop 6 in-depth case studies, drawn from initiatives where we conducted interviews with a representative from both an employer and a training provider.
The research found that:
• There is a variety of pre-employment initiatives run by training providers and employers. They are categorised as follows: Information, Advice & Guidance • Engagement • Skills training • Work experience
• Barriers to the effectiveness of these initiatives include: a lack of promotion of construction in schools; caring responsibilities being a systemic barrier to women entering the industry; logistical issues for some, such as not being able to afford transport
• A poor public perception of construction was the most significant challenge that the sector is facing.