JOBS for young people in the construction industry have kicked off in a new working partnership between Russell Taylor Group, Curtis Painting Group and Everton in the Community.
The recruitment business and the industrial and commercial operation have teamed up with the sporting charity to recognise apprenticeships as a major route to an “in demand” career and at the same time help tackle the region’s construction skills shortages.
Seven students from Liverpool’s Calderstones School, all part of the Everton in the Community programme, were given an insight into the world of work by Peter Russell, chairman of Russell Taylor Group, and Dave McCormick, Curtis Painting Group’s project manager, during a fact-finding day at the Russell Taylor headquarters at Burton Manor.
Joining them were Tom Owens, who heads up Russell Taylor’s Industrial Trades Division, and Isaac Heyes, who began work as an apprenticeship with the company straight from school and is now a key member of the division’s recruitment team.
Peter, who develops and nurtures Russell Taylor Group’s own workplace talent as well as going out into local communities to mentor young people, said: “The construction industry is currently in desperate need of a new workforce to take over from those who have left the industry or have retired and also to counter-act the loss of labour from outside the UK over the past couple of years.
“Every day our business is seeing a growing demand for workers in every corner of the construction sector where apprenticeships play an important part in getting young people on a training path to fill these skills gaps. These are real jobs with great opportunities for successful careers in a thriving industry - going straight into work, earning and not having the pressures of taking the college or university route.
“It’s a particular passion of mine as apprenticeships play an important part of the Russell Taylor culture as we train and guide young people to become vital members of our own workforce by having them work alongside experienced professionals to learn every aspect of their trade.”
Dave McCormick, a former apprentice, gave the students a taste of the benefits of an apprenticeship and described how highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in the construction sector can set them up for life, particularly now as the regional economy emerges from pandemic restraints.
He said: “There’s great optimism and energy in the construction industry today as we hit the ground running and come out of coronavirus restrictions. A massive surge in major building programmes is seeing Liverpool and Manchester rival London for construction growth and demand for skilled trades is soaring.
“ But labour shortages, which are already high, are steadily growing too. As the older workforce retires, apprenticeships are a sure and certain way of future-proofing businesses like ours to successfully operate in the construction industry by having a continuous pipeline of skilled workers.
“Apprentices are also set on a successful, well-paid and structured career path without having to pay enormous university tuition fees, in many instances having greater earning potential than those who have spent years as a student.”
The workplace, he believes, is more than teaching specific skills but also about experience of the real world of work, interacting with customers and having an insight into the “bigger picture” of how their job can impact on economic and social issues.
Gill Carr, pathways and employer engagement lead at Everton in the Community, which promotes education, health and wellbeing, social inclusion and equality of opportunity across local communities, said: “Visits like this to see how successful employers operate in the workplace is a big part of our Pathway to Construction programme. Hearing from people who started their journey as apprentices and have progressed through the years into management roles really helps to raise aspirations.
“The collaboration of such passionate employers like Russell Taylor Group and Curtis Painting Group is invaluable. They not only give young people a great insight into the real world of work but also give employers a chance to spend time with them and identify potential future apprentices.
“I would like to thank both organisations for their support and look forward to growing our collaboration supporting young people into apprenticeship opportunities over the coming years.”