Neil Conlon of Conlon Construction, volunteer Enterprise Adviser for Inspira, talks about his role with Eden Boys’ School Preston.
Within the Construction Industry you will hear a lot of talk about the lack of tradesmen and professionals compounded by an aging workforce. On the other hand there are plenty of pupils in years 10 and 11 who still have no idea about which career path to take.
I have always been a keen advocate for inspiring young people to want to work in the industry rather than seeing it as a choice of last resort. I am privileged to be a second generation member of our family business and have had a 35 year insight into the multitude of opportunities that lie before a young person with career aspirations.
From my perspective I would split Construction into three clear career pathways:
Vocational – there is a huge demand for all types of trades from decorating to plastering; tiling to plumbing, bricklaying to joinery.
My main task in this sector is to explain to students that the days of grubby site cabins and poor training and welfare are a thing of the past. Health, Safety, Welfare and the Environment are always at the top of our agenda. Young people are nurtured and well respected. All we ask in return is a willingness to learn and to understand the importance of punctuality!
Professional – we employ Project Managers, Contracts Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Estimators, Design Managers, Accountants, the list goes on…
This career path involves further education which is often designed around the individual’s needs. Apprenticeship Degrees are now available, sponsored by local industry, to give budding professionals a good qualification alongside a guaranteed job on completion of their degree.
Associated Disciplines – we can’t build a project without Architects, Structural Engineers, Civil Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Mechanical and Electrical Consultants, Ecologists, Acousticians and so on.
I get a genuine buzz when giving career advice, tinged with a sense of jealousy that these young people have their whole careers ahead of them!
We will be arranging a number of career related activities at Eden Boys over the year and I am looking forward to meeting the pupils and helping them to make their choice of future career path.