From education to employment

Students flock to Construction Question Time

Over 80 construction trades students and apprentices from across the three campuses of London South East Colleges descended on its Bromley Campus to pick the brains of some the UK construction industry’s biggest names.

Following an early morning brickwork competition (sponsored by Forterra PLC and organised by the Brickwork Development Association) in the College’s Technology Centre, students and guests were then invited to the Q&A session.

On the panel were:

  • Charlie Mullins OBE – the charismatic CEO of London’s Pimlico Plumbers
  • Danny Lucas – Managing Director of fit-out and finishing contractors Lucas
  • Andrew Stevens – CEO of technical and digital education providers CNet Training
  • Stuart Wallis – Director of recruitment specialists 1st Step Solutions Ltd
  • Shenaaz Chenia –  Director of construction giants Saint Gobain
  • Christina Smith – Manager at house builders Keepmoat Construction.

Andrew Stevens chaired the Q&A session and gave students a brief introduction to the main themes the panel would discuss. After welcoming our guests, he told the audience:

“Careers in construction and the built environment are for those who have the ambition to become tomorrow’s top professionals; those that have vision, commitment, and flair. Jobs in the industry do not come easy and you will have to compete hard to get your foot on the first rung of the ladder.

“Construction is becoming a multifaceted industry and employers only want to take on ‘good people’. They want the best possible candidates and they are willing to train them to become experts in their field. That’s how it works.”

Charlie Mullins 100x100Charlie Mullins OBE told the students:

“Although looking for your first job might seem a bit daunting to begin with, you have to remember that everyone starts somewhere. You are all at the starting post and you will have chances and breaks as well as a few misfortunes along the way.

“Personally, I think apprenticeships are brilliant for preparing you for the workplace. When I first started recruiting at Pimlico Plumbers, I would be looking primarily for people who had some experience of turning up for work, being punctual and reliable. Apprenticeships give you all of this and provide you with a qualification too.”

The Q&A session came to an end with the panel members offering just one word each to sum up what they thought was most important to a successful career. They were: Consistency, Opportunity, Passion, Enthusiasm, and Pride.

Motor Vehicle student Scott Read attended the session and found it very useful. He said:

“I have an interview for an apprenticeship coming up pretty soon and the panelists have given me some great ideas today. It was very interesting and they have made some brilliant points.”

If you think you have what it takes to become a construction or building trade professional and would like to build a successful career in the construction and built environment industries, London South East Colleges would like to hear from you.

The London South East College offers a range of courses across its campuses in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich.

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