A PIONEERING Notts project is being launched this week – to shine a spotlight on jobs and skills within the construction sector, and encourage more young people into the industry.

BE Inspired aims to combat the skills gap locally following news that the skills gap is widening across the construction sector with fewer young people choosing professions in architecture, surveying, engineering, project management and planning.

Nottingham Trent University is linking with the Construction Industry Council to create BE Inspired – a competition for students from Nottingham Business School and the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University.

Students will be asked to join forces and produce a three-minute video and outline social media campaign aimed at young people. The project will aim to engage and inform young people that a career in the construction industry offers lots of opportunity.

Maria Willis, of Construction Coach and chair of the East Midlands Construction Industry Council, is working with the university to help launch BE Inspired.

She said: “The essence of the brief is The Apprentice meets Dragon’s Den style competition with NTU students. We want students to design a social media campaign to include video and involvement from young people in the industry to attract young people into construction – and to draw attention to the many professions there are within the sector.”

Sponsors of BE Inspired are construction firm Laing O’Rourke, construction consultancy company Gleeds, consultancy and construction firm Mace, leading Midlands property agents Innes England, creative agency RizkMcCay and specialist construction PR agency Cartwright Communications.

Each sponsor is getting involved in BE Inspired and offering support to the students who sign up.

The competition launches on Thursday with speed networking for students from the two schools to form teams. In November, the teams will present their initial ideas to a Dragons’ Den-style panel made up of sponsors and partners.

In January, teams will be shortlisted and asked to present their strategies to the panel. In March, there will be an official launch event and prize-giving at Antenna in Nottingham to show the winning team’s video. The package will then be used in industry to encourage young people into the construction sector.

Winners of the competition will not only get a cash prize, but also a valuable insight into the workings of property and construction.

Tim Garratt, MD of sponsor Innes England, said: “Innes England is delighted to sponsor BE Inspired. It’s important that we all as an industry engage to ensure that we are bringing new talent into the profession. During the recession, we found that young people weren’t going into surveying because job roles had decreased – now leaving us short of new talent.”

With around 35% of career advisers believing that a career in construction is unattractive, many perceive the industry to have a non-academic career path – and as a result fewer young people are going into roles in architecture, project management and construction, said Maria.

She added: “This competition will help students put business theory into practice and helps educate the educators. This is also a chance for students to network and engage with top employers in order for them to understand more about what is available.

“Students will be working together to improve on team working skills and also liaise with our sponsor employers about the possibility of gaining summer internships.”

Fiona Winfield, Nottingham Trent University employability coordinator, said: “Be Inspired gives our students the chance to develop their transferable skills and enhance their employability. It’s also a great opportunity for them to work closely with employers and build their professional contacts, all while learning about an industry in which they may decide to follow a career path when they graduate.”


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BDC 316 : May 2024