Construction firms are offering sixth-formers the chance to experience life in the boardroom through a dedicated work shadow scheme for the sector. Eight successful applicants have been selected to spend a week learning from professionals in the industry.
Now in its second year, the construction work shadow scheme provides students with first-hand experience of senior management in a range of areas including architecture, engineering, development and quantity surveying.
It is managed by the Jersey Construction Council (JeCC) with support from the Association of Jersey Architects and the Channel Islands Group of Professional Engineers. Careers Jersey provides administration support for the scheme.
The JeCC’s Education and Training Committee Chairman, Marc Burton, said that the response from both the industry and the students had been really encouraging this year. ‘Businesses have been extremely willing to participate in the scheme and give youngsters the opportunity to find out about the industry. While other work shadow schemes are struggling to find placements in this climate, we have been delighted that the construction sector has been so supportive of our initiative.’
Mr Burton said that the variety of roles and the scope of professions that are available within the construction industry were often overlooked, especially at the managerial and executive level. He said he was pleased, too, that three female students were among this year’s intake.
He said: ‘The construction industry recognises the importance of working closely with the Education Department to explain the opportunities that exist for keen young people. The JeCC has been meeting careers teachers and attending schools to give presentations to students about the work shadow scheme.
‘Ultimately, our aim is to encourage the Island’s brightest students to consider a career in a construction-related industry in Jersey,’ said Mr Burton. ‘It is a little-known fact that around 19 per cent of staff will either leave or retire from the industry within the next five years. When they go we will lose the experience and skills that they have built up over a lifetime’s career. The work shadow scheme, as well as other initiatives that the JeCC manage, help to ensure the continued supply of local talent to keep our industry vibrant and the Jersey economy diversified.’
Sue Walsh from Careers Jersey said the one-week placements would provide valuable and relevant experience for the students, including a panel interview which formed part of the application process.
‘The workplace can be daunting and work shadow schemes such as this one offer a unique opportunity for the Island’s young people to see exactly what is out there and how they can make themselves appealing to potential employers,’ she said.
Of the eight students who were selected for the scheme this year, two completed their placements over the February half-term and one did so at Easter. The remaining student placements have been organised by Careers Jersey and the firms taking part include:
AFM, Axis Mason, BDK Architects, Geomarine, Hartigan, Naish Waddington Architects, Rothwell & Partners and Rowney Sharman (Jersey).