Construction careers highlighted
Hundreds of young people have taken part in Scottish Apprenticeship Week events. As part of its ambition to highlight the various opportunities in the built environment industry for young people, infrastructure giant Robertson Group ran a series of activities across the areas it operates in Scotland and Northern England.
Events in the Highlands provided high-level insights into construction, and included the World of Construction, part of the Highland Apprenticeship Showcase held at Inverness College UHI, during which Robertson delivered interactive workshops on Building Information Modelling (BIM), using the model of the new Inverness Justice Centre as an example.
Pupils and parents also had the opportunity to sit in the courtroom of the new Justice Centre – for which Robertson Northern is primary contractor – using virtual-reality headsets.
Further events across the country included the Get into Engineering programme in Glasgow, which saw pupils create models of rocket cars using software including Autocad and 3D printing.
Gemma Gourlay, director of social sustainability for Robertson Group, said: “While we engage with young people on a constant basis throughout the year, campaigns such as Scottish Apprenticeship Week give us an additional platform to communicate not only with young people but also education providers and parents.
“We recognise the importance of providing varied opportunities, and are proud to offer tiered schemes ranging from internships and apprenticeships to traineeships and graduate apprenticeships – which are the equivalent of an Honours degree. Often, we will offer full-time roles across Robertson businesses to young people taking part in placements in areas including project and site management, architecture, finance and quantity surveying.
“Over the next five years, there will be an estimated 10,000 workers needed in the construction industry, so the work we carry out now is really important. We’ve been impressed by the sheer volume of young people who, as a result of meeting with our team, have decided that a life in construction is for them.”
Robertson is committed to developing a young workforce that is employment-ready, engaging with Scottish Government programmes including Developing the Young Workforce, where Robertson staff sit on a number of regional boards, as well as Skills Development Scotland’s Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB).
Donna Graham, apprentice procurement administrator and Robertson Apprentice of the Year 2017, said: “I joined Robertson after the apprenticeship came highly recommended to me by a friend who’d recently completed her apprenticeship with the company.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far. I thought I’d be making teas and coffees and filing but instead I’m out on site visits, meeting suppliers and placing orders. The team have helped me on my SVQ and I’m now studying towards my Procurement and Supply Chain qualification – hopefully in a few years’ time I will be director of procurement!
“I now use my own experience to inspire young people and employers to get involved with apprenticeships by representing Robertson on the SAAB sub-group made up of existing apprentices.”
During the week, Robertson also took the opportunity to highlight topics such as mentoring support available to young people, and how Robertson is embracing Graduate Apprenticeships.
For the coming year, Robertson has established partnerships with six schools including Bannockburn High School in Stirling, Elgin Academy in Moray and Baldragon Academy in Dundee. Further education partnerships include Inverness College UHI, Glasgow Kelvin College and Edinburgh College, as well as nine universities including Robert Gordon University and Heriot Watt University.