Kier devotes 200 staff to school careers crusade

Aaron Morby 7 years ago

Kier is pledging to release 1% of its workforce to act as school career ambassadors for construction in a bid to combat the looming skills crisis.

Kier chief calls for majors to sign the 1% pledge
Kier chief calls for majors to sign the 1% pledge

The contracting giant was spurred into action by its own detailed research into attitudes to the industry at secondary schools and academies.

It is launching the 1% pledge in the hope that other firms will join it in facing up to the challenge of changing widely-held misperceptions in the education sector.

Its survey of 2,000 secondary schools and academies reveals that two-thirds of teachers and careers advisers hold negative views about construction.

Nine out of ten teachers across the UK are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in construction, with 41% not even realising there is an issue at all.

Furthermore, it reveals the Government’s present careers system is failing 13-15 years with just a quarter getting one hour, once of careers advice.

Kier has won the backing of the Institute of Directors and the Government’s Careers & Enterprise Company to launch the 1% initiative, echoing the 5% Club commitment to taking on apprentices and graduate trainees.

Staff will be released to work with both schools and colleges across the UK with the aim of reaching out to at least 10,000 pupils in the first 12 months.

Kier chief Haydn Mursell is calling on other construction business to sign the pledge to challenge misperceptions about construction and avert what the firm calls a looming £90bn UK GDP crisis in construction.

“The wider built environment sector needs 400,000 recruits each year, but drawing new talent into an industry that, as our research shows, is still misperceived as ‘muddy’, ‘manual’, ‘male dominated’, ‘poorly paid’ and largely ‘non-academic’, is a fundamental challenge, said Mursell.

“We  have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice.

“We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.

“If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”

Kier employs around 20,000 staff in the UK which means it will create 200 career ambassadors.

They will share their pride and passion and explain the vast array of roles and opportunities on offer.

This will involve demonstrating how diverse, rewarding and vital the industry really is.

At Kier alone, there are 2,000 different job roles across local, regional and national projects, and many different career entry and progression points

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