Robertson Group blazes a trail in promoting construction industry to builders of the future

School students from Trinity High and St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow at the Forth Road Crossing Education Centre enjoying an engineering workshop with Robertson Group
School students from Trinity High and St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow at the Forth Road Crossing Education Centre enjoying an engineering workshop with Robertson Group

Robertson Group’s efforts to bolster numbers entering the construction industry has engaged with over 12,000 youngsters this year.

The achievement will be celebrated at 1pm today at a Get into Engineering awards ceremony in Glasgow - organised in conjunction with Clyde Gateway and University of West of Scotland.

Robertson began its efforts in January this year when the firm decided to address the dwindling numbers of young people choosing a life in construction.

Since then, the group, which has 18 companies within its portfolio, has welcomed thousands of children and young people to experience class room engagements, workshops and site visits, all designed to enhance their perception of construction and encourage future employment within the industry.

Derek Shewan, chief operating officer, Robertson Group, said: “Job levels in construction are still below pre-recession levels and have failed to keep pace with work demand. Data from the Office of National Statistics showed that in June 2015, employee numbers were 8.7percent lower than in 2007 but construction output was only 1.6percent lower over the same period. That’s why the industry needs to do more to attract youngsters into construction.

“Our goal was to engage with 7,000 young people in 2015. And as you can see we have exceeded that target.

“We have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of young people who, as a result of meeting with our team, have decided that a life in construction is for them. And we thought today would be a great platform to announce the success of the programme because the young people in the room are the result of it.”

Roberton students 2All ten pupils at the ceremony – five from St Mungo’s Academy in Glasgow and five from Trinity High School in Rutherglen – have been working with Robertson Civil Engineering on the development of the Cuningar Loop Bridge project.

Once in place, the new Glasgow landmark will connect the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village in Glasgow’s East End to a new community green space. The bridge is scheduled to open in early summer 2016.

Also in attendance at the awards ceremony will be programme contributors Clyde Gateway and University of West of Scotland.

Natalie Phillips, education, business & community growth project manager with Clyde Gateway, said: “Supporting local pupils into careers and further or higher education is one of the key aims of Clyde Gateway and our Get Into Engineering Programme over the past three years has been a huge success in helping to achieve this.

“Robertson has become one of our key partners in the delivery of this innovative programme and there is no question that the unique learning opportunities they provide for pupils are ideal. Not only are they enjoyable, interesting and informative but they also give everyone involved the perfect introduction to what is involved in engineering and construction.”

Roberton studentsDr Stuart Tennant of University of the West of Scotland’s School of Engineering and Computing said: “We are delighted to be actively involved in the Get into Engineering initiative which gives high school pupils the opportunity to experience different areas of the industry and also get a feel for university life.”

Robertson Group plans to continue its youth engagement activity over the long-term to safeguard the sector and mirror government ambitions.

In 2014, more than 15,000 people signed up to UK government work placement training schemes in the building sector. And with 275,000 new affordable homes in the pipeline, Ministers have promised more construction work is on the horizon.

The Scottish Government outlined in its Construction Industry Strategy 2013-2016 that the sector represents 10 per cent of total Scottish jobs, contributing over £21.4bn of GPD to the Scottish economy. And despite the challenges that the industry has faced since 2006, which included slumps in output and 30,000 people losing their jobs, it has remained resilient.

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