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Work placements and careers events for NSAfC projects

Work placements and career events are covered by key performance indicators (KPIs) 1 and 3 respectively under the National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) framework.

Talk to local schools, colleges and universities to help you advertise for possible candidates, particularly those who already training in related areas. You can search for local schools and colleges by location, postcode, local authority or parliamentary constituency.

Useful contacts include business liaison officers, employability and partnership co-ordinators, and careers officers. At university, you could also get hold of the lead course tutor or department head in relevant disciplines, such as civil engineering, construction project management or architectural technology.

It’s not only young people and people in education who could benefit from work experience and careers events. Get in touch with employment and skills contacts in the local authority, community groups, and local or national employment agencies, such as:

Work placements not only give people real experience of what it’s like to work in the construction industry, but are also a cost-effective way for employers to find new talent. For people trying to get into the industry, work experience is an increasingly important element of their CV – two-thirds of employers prefer people with a good work experience record when hiring.

Hands-on experience is an important component to any work placement, given the findings of proper health and safety risk assessments, an induction and full supervision (or buddying) throughout.

You will need to compile evidence from the learning provider or employer that individual has taken part, and each learner must complete an evaluation form to achieve outcomes for KPI 1. There are two sample evaluation forms that you can use to collect this evidence:

See KPIs: meeting your targets for details.

Organising a work placement

Be clear to your contacts about what you can offer and clear with your colleagues about who is responsible for certain elements of the programme. For schools and colleges, liaise so that work placements fit well into their timetables; it is best to get offers out early in the academic year so they can make the appropriate arrangements. At college, students need to have 2 weeks’ work experience and your approaches to facilitate this should be welcome.

The programme and duration for every work placement is often different – but the two constants are that it suits your business and inspires the students. Look for variety, real-world tasks that promote independent thinking, and variety; avoid boring routine chores such as making coffee and photocopying. For more ideas, download the work inspiration how-to guide from the National Grid.

Carry out risk assessments and any pre-planning, including getting the right sizes of personal protective equipment (PPE) and arranging for all-day supervision or buddying.

If you intend to undertake drug and alcohol testing for adult candidates, you’ll need to give advance notice to all parties. Provide company policy and site rules for all onsite workers and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card holders.

To focus your efforts on the right people, you may want to consider a taster day as part of a selection strategy. Sometimes it is easier to organise for school students to come in pairs.

Confirm transport arrangements, times, lunch provision, and location for breaks or refreshments. Say if students need to bring a packed lunch or dinner money.

Work placement resources

Careers events are an important means of raising awareness about the diversity of opportunities and job roles in the construction industry, and promoting the sector as a whole, particularly to underrepresented groups.

Each careers event you organise is worth 1 outcome against KPI 3. For more information, see KPIs: meeting your targets.

Targeting your audience

Students and undergraduates should not be your sole focus. Targeting influencers, such as careers staff, training and employment organisations, and community groups, will help to create a snowball effect in efforts to overturn outdated perceptions about the nature of construction work and who can do it.

This assists industry’s outreach to people not in education, employment or training, and anyone who may otherwise be discouraged from looking at a career in construction because of misconceptions.

Look out of national and regional events, such as National Apprenticeship Week, that you can use to tie in to the events you are organising.

Find out if you have any STEM Ambassadors in-house to help you.

Go Construct is our website aimed at young people and anyone interested in construction careers, featuring useful information on work experience, and marketing and educational resources that you can use in your career event.

Construction Youth Trust is a charity helping young people in England and Wales find training and employment opportunities in the construction industry.

Inspiring Futures is a leading provider of careers information, advice and guidance, working with skills across the UK and internationally.

Inspiring The Future aims to motivate young people by giving them opportunities to meet role models doing exciting and interesting jobs.

STEM Learning is the largest provider of education and careers support in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Find out how employers can get involved.

Tomorrow’s Engineers is bringing schools and industry together to grow talent in engineering.

WISE works with business and industry to promote the success of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.