Home Features FIS SKILLS: Construction’s role models to engage next generation

Shining a light on our industry’s inspirational role models to encourage young people into construction as a career is at the heart of a new campaign. Helen Yeulet, skills delivery director for FIS, talks about the importance of campaigns such as this from UK Construction Week and highlights some of the great work of Christian Hatherall-Good – FIS’s successful nominee.

 

FIS is working in collaboration with UK Construction Week on its role model campaign to identify those unsung heroes within the industry who have a passion for what they do and provide inspiration to others through their work. The idea of the campaign is to elevate the nationwide profile of these industry role models and, in doing so, help recruit a new generation of construction professionals.

Christian Hatherall-Good, who is head of construction at Brooklands College in Surrey, was one of FIS’s role model nominees – and he has successfully gone on to be named among 40 role models, selected from across the industry to cover a diverse representation of the sector, who will take part in an outreach programme with colleges and schools. They’ll talk to students at key stages of their education, explaining what inspired them to choose construction as a career and bust any myths around the image of construction.

FIS met Christian through its #iBuiltThis2017 competition when his student, Emily Ash, won the 14-18 age category contest with her submission of ‘wall and cavity synoptic testing’. Working closely with Christian since then, it has become clear just how much he does to encourage and support young people with aspirations to work in construction.

Bringing in new talent

The skills and recruitment challenges facing the construction sector are well documented, and shining a light on inspirational individuals within it is much welcomed. Of the current UK construction workforce, 32 per cent are over the age of 50 with a further 58 per cent aged 25 to 49. Only 10 per cent are under 25. The industry needs to attract, train and retain a more skilled workforce to replace those leaving and stop the 30 to 40 per cent of those who complete a construction course but then don’t enter the industry. It needs to collaborate to change the current perceptions of construction and educate young people about the breadth of interesting careers available.

UK Construction Week’s role model campaign will help address some of these challenges by  giving role models extra exposure and the platform to promote the industry’s image, inspiring the next generation of professionals to consider a career in construction.

Christian Hatherall-Good is certainly someone who is doing this. He started his career as an apprentice, learning his skills and knowledge at Swindon College. Five years after leaving college and gaining site experience on high-end commercial buildings, he started his own brickwork company.

For the last six years, Christian has taught NVQ Level 2–Level 3 Brickwork at Brooklands College – his classes are always popular and at full capacity. To date, Christian has helped over 180 young people become talented bricklayers by practising the trade and getting qualified.

Christian said: “I’m honoured to have been nominated by FIS and chosen to be a UK Construction Week role model. This is a great opportunity to promote a career in construction to the next generation, those soon to be leaving or have just left school.”

Reaching out to the industry

If running the brickwork department at a college wasn’t enough, Christian has over 1,600 followers on his twitter account (@trowel63), which reaches out to the industry, young people, parents and employers alike. He has brought in direct sponsorship for his department and to the benefit of his students from many national companies. In return, he hosts regular CPD industry relevant sessions for the companies’ representatives, ensuring their skills are the best they can be.

Christian has won many industry accolades and awards over the years including being named as one of six highly commended tutors in the WorldSkills UK ‘Local Hero’ Awards 2017 and making the final ten for The Pearson Outstanding FE Tutor of the Year in 2016. But he is most proud of winning the Brooklands College Tutor of the Year 2014, as voted for by the students.

He dedicates a large part of his non-teaching time to helping his students to speak confidently in public at apprenticeship conferences. He truly represents what an industry role model should be.

As an industry role model, Christian will speak at UK Construction Week, take part in their student initiative and write for the Construction Matters blog. He will also be present at the FIS #iBuiltThis2018 awards on 9 October.

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