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National work experience event helps inspire green careers

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Morgan Sindall Construction has collaborated with an education charity and procurement specialist to challenge misconceptions about the construction industry’s impact on the environment and attract the next generation of green workers. 

The main contractor joined forces with Speakers for Schools and public sector procurement authority, SCAPE to deliver its largest Virtual Working Experience Week (VWEx) to date to 100 pupils throughout England last month. 

More than 500 hours were donated by the Morgan Sindall Construction team with volunteers also coming from Balfour Beatty, Kier and Willmott Dixon as well as several businesses from Morgan Sindall Construction’s supply chain. In total, the event achieved a social value impact of £25,000.  

Following the week-long learning, 85 per cent of pupils stated how they were now extremely aware of the impact the construction industry has on the environment, up from just 22 per cent the week before. The awareness of the different types of green careers available in construction also changed dramatically from eight per cent up to 68 per cent.  

During the first half of the week, the students received a number of interactive talks and presentations with industry experts in a variety of job roles to understand the part they play in construction and the sustainability process.  

As well as hearing from a Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor, Design Manager, Safety Health and Environmental Manager, Ecologist and Waste Manager, the students got the chance to speak with an apprentice, currently gaining vital experience with Morgan Sindall Construction, who was able to explain her own career journey and answer any questions the students might have. The pupils were then assigned specific job roles within their teams and tasked with presenting their own carbon neutral primary school back to the experts on the final day. 

Rob Cant, Framework Director at Morgan Sindall, said: “Motivating young people into construction is something we are passionate about. We believe that in order to inspire the future leaders of the industry we have to start with schools, and that’s why events like this are crucial. 

“The level of engagement and calibre of questions asked by pupils was really encouraging and allows us to view the industry through the eyes of a younger person, sometimes making us challenge our perceptions. We will continue to hold similar events in the future throughout the country.” 

Students were also offered the chance to take part in Morgan Sindall Construction’s ‘Get Carbon Clarity’ training program. Developed in partnership with charity organisation Carbon Literacy Project, the course helped them understand the important role the construction industry can play in decarbonising communities. In total, more than 31 students went on to make their own Personal Carbon Pledge, which will see them make small yet significant changes to reduce their own carbon impact on the planet.  

Mike Little, Head of Social Value at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “In recent years we have noticed a large step change in how the younger generation places emphasis on sustainable, inclusive and socially responsible ways of workings. Purpose and values are key drivers, while concerns about climate change are strongly vocalised. This was certainly apparent during our ‘Get Carbon Clarity’ course, which proved the perfect opportunity to have open discussions around the environment and the changes they can make in their lives. Even more encouragingly, this course resulted in 31 young people volunteering to make their own personal carbon pledges in an attempt take action against the effects of climate change and to reduce their footprint.” 

Alison Ramsey, Social Value and Performance Manager SCAPE, added: “As the construction industry continues to tackle the significant skills gap, events like these are vital for inspiring and educating the next generation of talent. The impact of construction on the environment will be of key importance for the industry for many years to come and it was fantastic to see so many pupils keen to learn about sustainability and green careers in construction.” 

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