Foundations Live, the region’s biggest co-located construction trade and careers event, took place for the third time this month. As an event, it attracted by far the biggest audience yet, with over 1,000 people in attendance across the day.
The event saw hundreds of industry professionals and schools visit Bishop Burton College’s equine arena, which hosted more than 70 companies exhibiting products and services and advising hundreds of students on how to gain a route into the workplace.
Foundations Live combines two events under one roof; a networking and trade event for construction professionals to meet, learn about new products and innovations and do business, and an interactive careers event for people of all ages, from primary schools through to adult re-trainers.
The event is a collaboration between Hobson & Porter, Bishop Burton College and national supplier Jewson, and is supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). For the first time, this year’s event saw the introduction of a lively panel debate, hosted by tv personality Mark Millar, project manager on BBC One’s DIY SOS.
The debate was held at a time when recently published ONS data published revealed that construction has fallen out of the top 10 most popular professions for 22-29-year-olds, dropping from 7th to 12th in the space of six years. It is estimated more than 9,000 jobs will be available in the construction sector in the next five years in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with total growth forecast at 1.1%.
The panel, consisting of industry professionals including Efficiency North’s Mark Scott, Hobson & Porter’s Richard Hunter, Bishop Burton’s Jeremy Hara and Chris Dodsworth, and CITB representatives Lynn Alisson and Chris Carr, discussed the drop in popularity of Construction as a career option amongst young people, alongside the increasing demand for skilled workers as the sector continues to grow.
Each panellist presented their points, through client, contractor, education and training board perspectives. A Q&A session followed the debate as the wider industry presented their views.
Other features on the day included a range of exhibitors from organisations which support the construction trade. Over 70 organisations exhibited in total, with many visiting for the first time, including apprenticeship and careers supporters such as EN:Able Futures, Turner Timber and the Army Careers Services.
In total, more than 700 pupils from 17 schools and colleges attended from across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as well as more than 350 from across the industry seeking networking opportunities.
The event received positive feedback from all who attended, with primary school pupils enjoying the opportunity to try out mini-bricklaying courses and a range of interactive activities.
Ms Metcalfe, learning support tutor at The Boulevard Academy said: “Foundations Live is such an amazing idea and an eye-opener into the world of construction and engineering. I am most surprised at how interested the girls were in our group, it has definitely been fascinating for them to learn how they can get involved in this industry.”
Richard Hunter, managing director for Hobson & Porter, said: “We created the Foundations initiative to educate four distinct groups of students- primary, secondary, further education and adult re-trainers- on the wide-ranging potential careers available in construction. It’s about changing perceptions to show there are hundreds of career options, from planners and architects to landscape gardeners, not everyone in construction lays bricks on a building site.
“While schools and colleges have a big part to play in promoting careers, their advisors can’t possibly have an in-depth understanding of every role in every industry. If we want to raise awareness of the great things construction can offer, we must paint the picture ourselves and proactively engage with learners. SME organisations in our sector must come together to tackle the skills shortage issue, and Foundations Live has provided the perfect platform for these discussions to take place.”
Richard added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the numbers of attendees at this year’s exhibition, which has been by far the biggest yet. In total there have been more than 1000 visitors which is fantastic. I’d like to thank our collaborators Bishop Burton College and Jewson, as well as the CITB for supporting us this year in helping us educate and inspire the next generation to come work in our fantastic industry.”
Hobson & Porter would like to thank everyone that attended Foundations Live this year, including exhibitors and visitors- through this collaboration we are raising the profile of construction and addressing the challenges of the future.